For Your Liver’s Sake: The Best Times to Drink Water
At one point or another, most of us have been chided to drink more water. Considering that our body is more than 50 percent water, consumption of this liquid is a necessity. There are several reasons why someone with chronic liver disease benefits from drinking water, but there may be times during the day that are better than others for hydrating.
Everyone’s water intake needs are different; however, being properly hydrated with water assists liver health and function in several ways. Water:
- aids in digestion – the body’s means for extracting nutrients from food, digestion can be hampered with chronic liver disease. Keeping the digestive system working smoothly reduces extra work for the liver.
- helps maintain a healthy weight – an important factor to reduce the risk of developing or worsening fatty liver disease.
- assists in the removal of waste – a benefit that prevents toxins from accumulating and burdening the liver. An injured liver is more vulnerable to a backup of toxins.
- thins the blood – it is largely responsible for the fluid content of blood. Thus, proper hydration will make the blood thinner, rendering it easier for the liver to filter.
Besides drinking plenty of water, several experts suggest there are certain times of the day that are ideal for hydrating. These include:
- Upon waking up – Drinking a glass of water after waking up is a great way to activate the internal organs: liver included. Consuming water first thing in the morning helps flush circulating toxins out prior to the first meal of the day. Unfortunately, many people reach for a cup of coffee in the morning before a glass of water. Because coffee is a diuretic, it encourages fluid loss, which is dehydrating and increases blood viscosity. Thicker blood provides a greater toxin-filtering challenge to the liver than thinner blood.
- Before a meal – Drinking water thirty minutes before each meal helps with satiety, reducing the chances of overeating. Because overeating can contribute to obesity and fatty liver disease, water consumption prior to eating can help keep the liver lean. In addition, water before a meal helps prepare the stomach for food by stimulating digestive enzymes and bile production.
- Prior to and following physical activity – As we all know, staying physically fit is key for wellness, including optimal liver health. Drinking water before and after physical activity protects against dehydration. Especially for someone with a fibrotic liver, dehydration means thicker blood that makes filtration by the liver that much more challenging. Drinking water before and after a workout prevents dehydration, therefore protecting the liver from processing a backlog of toxins.
- Before bed – Experts don’t necessarily agree on how soon before bed, but most concur that drinking a glass before bed provides the body with water needed to aid in detoxification during sleep. Although some advocates suggest a glass right before bed, others advise having your last drink of water two hours prior to bed if going to the restroom at night is an issue.
Between helping with detoxification, digestion, weight management and blood viscosity, water is clearly the beverage of choice for those with chronic liver disease. By drinking a glass when you wake up, before a meal, before and after physical activity and prior to going to sleep, your water consumption timing will provide your liver with optimal hydration.