While dealing with the scorching summer heat, water is our best respite and so are fresh, juicy fruits. Both are full of minerals and nutrients and they energize you leaving you feeling refreshed. But the big question that arises here is whether they go hand in hand or simply, should you drink water after eating fruits? While Celebrity Nutritionist Pooja Makhija puts an end to a debate regarding the best time to eat fruits and suggests that fruits are great anytime of the day, drinking water after eating fruits remains questionable. Some people believe can drinking water immediately after eating fruits should be strictly avoided but why so?
A common belief is that drinking water straight after consuming fruits can cause stomach cramps and flatulence because fruits contain a considerable amount of sugar (in the form of fructose) and yeast which dilutes the stomach acids and create a favourable environment for the yeast to survive and the production of carbon di oxide which leads to gaseous build-up in the stomach. On the other hand, some health experts agree that you should not drink water after certain fruits like watermelons. According to Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner Shilpa Arora, “It slows down the absorption and digestion process in our stomach leading to an acidic tummy. Some people with a sensitive stomach experience uneasiness when they drink water with the fruit.” The traditional science of Ayurveda agrees that certain combinations can disturb the normal functioning of the gastric fire and upset the balance of doshas in our body. In his book, Ayurvedic Home Remedies, Dr. Vasant Lad advises that all kinds of melons should be eaten alone and not followed by anything even water.
In his book, Living Easy with Ayurveda, Dr. JV Hebbar makes a very interesting point. According to him, you should not drink water before or after eating anything but it is alright to drink it while having your meal. Drinking water before eating anything dilutes your digestive acids and weakens the Agni (digestive strength) because of its cooling properties. Drinking water after eating something is also a wrong habit as it can hinder the absorption of nutrients. He suggests, ‘you can have water one hour before you eat or one and a half hours after eating.’ In his blog, another Ayurvedic Expert, Dr. Dr MS Krishnamurthy, clarifies that you should not drink water (especially cold water) after eating bananas as it can cause severe indigestion. According to him, drinking water after eating bananas makes it hard to digest because of the inherent properties of the fruit which are similar to that of cold water. He recommends that you should drink water 15-20 minutes after eating bananas if at all you want to.
Dr. Anju Sood, Bangalore-based Nutritionist, explains the concept of pH levels in our stomach and how consuming water after eating fruits may affect it. Your stomach releases certain acids in response to the food you eat and that determines the pH level (the level of acidity or alkalinity in your stomach) which when not balanced can cause flatulence, indigestion, bacterial growth or gas. Most of these common stomach problems are basically due to low acid levels in your stomach. “Drinking additional water after fruits that have a high water content can upset the pH balance by making your stomach less acidic which can affect digestion. When your digestive system is not functioning properly, all the good nutrients from the food you eat may remain un-absorbed. Avoid drinking water after citrus fruits and fruits with high water content. Give yourself at least half an hour to an hour to digest these fruits before you drink water,” she says. All said and done, you must drink water if you are really thirsty but since most fruits are full of water and hydrating in nature that may not be the case. In such a scenario, it is best to avoid drinking water immediately after eating fruits and wait for sometime before you pick up that glass.