Why Should You Sit Down For a Meal? An Expert Explains
How often have you turned a deaf ear to your parents asking you to sit down and have a meal peacefully.
We just get so caught up in our work that we barely make time to sit down and eat. The result - we end up eating at our desk at work or grabbing a bite while driving or eating while chatting on our phones.
But why is this such a bad thing?
Why Should We Sit Down for a Meal?
There is enough scientific evidence to support the sitting down theory. Worldwide, in all cultures, eating on the move is not recommended. In fact, it’s almost forbidden to eat while standing or walking.
All the organs in our body require adequate supply of blood to perform their functions properly.
So when the food reaches our stomach, three things happen:
- Digestive enzymes get secreted to aid the digestive process
- The stomach prepares itself to mix the food and enzymes in a regulated manner
- The nutrients get absorbed by the blood once the food is digested
So inadequate supply of blood to the digestive system while we are standing or walking, adversely affects the digestion process.
On the contrary, sitting down for a meal ensures proper supply of blood to the digestive system.
What Does Ayurveda Say?
Ayurveda and other ancient Indian cultures also advocate sitting in sukhasana or a cross-legged position to have a meal.
This posture allows the toning of all the muscles involved and certain acupuncture points get activated, which in turn regulate the blood flow to the digestive system.
People who suffer from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) or acid reflux are often advised to sit in vajrasana (sitting on the heels in a kneeling position) after having a meal. Sitting in this posture tightens the valve between the esophagus and the stomach, ensuring that the stomach acid doesn’t travel towards the mouth.
Enjoy a Stress-Free Meal
Sitting down for a meal with a calm and stress-free mind is also essential for the food to be digested properly. Enjoying a meal wholeheartedly can have a positive effect on the entire body.
Mindful Eating Can Only Happen When You Sit Down
Scientists believe that while eating, one’s attention must only be on the food. This is called ‘mindful eating’ and can only be performed while one is sitting and relaxed.
As per quantum medicine (which is a branch of science similar to quantum physics) the absence of mindful eating in developed countries is one of the main reasons behind the growing obesity.
A study conducted in Japan found that resting after a meal helped in faster digestion of fatty foods and reduced malabsorption of nutrients.
But most doctors advise a gap of two hours between dinner and going to bed.
(Dr Ashwini Setya is a Gastroenterologist and Programme Director in Delhi’s Max Super Speciality Hospital. His endeavor is to help people lead a healthy life without medication. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)