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Digestion Habits

The Importance of Hydrating Your Colon


Your intestines are a 25-foot conduit. For good gut (intestinal)

function you need to keep that the food being digested

 moving along. This function will be greatly impeded if your

intestines are dry. When you eat,  your food goes from your stomach to

your small intestine, and then to your large intestine, or colon. You need

a well-hydrated colon to process the food matter and move along, or

slide long, the walls of the colon. But if you don’t have enough water

in your body already, the colon will soak up water from the food that is

being processed as waste. This makes you have hard stools that are

difficult to pass and constipates you.

In order to avoid constipating backup in your colon, you should drink

plenty of water and eat foods that are high in water content.  You

should drink plenty of water throughout the day.  This amount should be

increased if you are, for example, living in a hot, humid climate and

sweating, or exercising vigorously and sweating.

Foods that Constipate

Remember, your body is made of approximately 60% water. If you eat too

many water-depleted foods, your intestinal tract will become bound up

and you can become constipated and bloated. For example, as a snack, I

used to eat snack chips that were natural, lower-calorie and gluten-free

(more easily digestible.) However, snack chips by their nature are dry

and have low water content, and I wound up constipated, bloated, and

with a gut. Foods with low water content include bread, peanut butter

, and other nut butters, chips, crackers, chocolate cake, and cookies.

Foods that Hydrate

So to keep your intestinal tract hydrated–to keep the food being

digested moving through the “slippery tube,”  you not only should you

drink plenty of water, but eat foods–even snack foods–that are high in

water content. These foods include fruits and vegetables. These foods

actually provide you with water as they are almost 100% water by weight.

Soups can as well. Nuts and seeds, brown rice, and even some bread

(gluten-free preferred.) These foods provide you with extra water. Even

some animal proteins (which may have a higher water content) and that

have quicker digestive transit times– like fish and chicken–may be

eaten and digested fairly quickly as well. 

Drinks to Avoid

Drinks with caffeine such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks with added

caffeine such as most colas, should be drunk in moderation. Caffeine is

a diuretic (a substance that removes water from your body) and so will

dehydrate you. Alcohol is also a diuretic that should be drunk in

moderation or avoided.

How Much Water Should I Drink?

How much water to drink daily depends on each person. But the U.S.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined

that an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups of fluids a day for

men and about 11.5 cups of fluids a day for women. Now, these recommended

fluids are from about 80% water other drinks and 20% from food.  More

commonly, a rule of thumb is drinking about 8 glasses of water a day for

a total of 64 ounces per day. But again this varies from person to

person and the other factors as mentioned such as the weather, how much

physical exertion you are putting out, and the foods that you eat.

How do I know if I’m Drinking Enough Water?

You are probably getting enough water if you usually don’t feel thirsty. You should make

water your main beverage to prevent the dehydration of your digestive system and of

your body in general. Drink

water whenever you feel thirsty. As your body often mistakes thirst for

hunger, drink water before and during a meal. You will eat less.

Why It’s Important to Drink Water Every Morning

You should drink 2 glasses of water every morning before your first

meal.  Think about it. You just went 8 hours without drinking any water or other

beverages. Even if you don’t feel thirsty,

 your body probably is Drinking water in the morning also kick starts

your metabolism. Drinking water in the morning will also help you get

rid of toxins by flushing out your digestive system.

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