A few years ago one of my patients told me that her boss had a heart attack after dinner, whilst he was watching television. He was only 55 years old. This story has made me think, this man did not have a heart attack whilst he was busy or during exercise, but whilst he was resting and a relaxing time of the day. This type of case happens quite often these days. This story should make us think about what we should do straight away after eating.
Many people sit on the couch watching television, reading newspapers or books after a meal, until bed time without movement. This type of habit is not healthy after eating, especially if you have a big meal or a large stomach. When sitting on a soft surface like a couch, the stomach in compressed between the lower part of the body and the top. This creates extra pressure on the heart as it is central in the chest. This posture will affect the circulation to the heart. Sometimes this may lead to a heart attack especially those who are middle aged. So this is the story of my client’s boss.
This type of habit can also cause a gain in weight, hypertension and diabetes.
Due to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, I have a few suggestions for you to do after you have eaten.
1. Massage your stomach
After a meal you can stand, warm your hands and put your hand on you stomach (palms facing stomach) and rub your stomach clockwise ten times, and anti-clockwise ten times. Then from the middle of the stomach run your hands down to your umbilical area ten times.
Effects: Massaging the stomach can aid digestion by stimulating blood flow to the area. This will also help you to have regular bowel movements. This may also help to reduce the symptoms of bloating, discomfort and gas after eating.
Chinese culture has a traditional saying that “One hundred step after dinner can make you live up to 99 years old”. This means that if you go for a mild walk after dinner it will be good for your health. I suggest that you walk slow and relaxing for approximately 10 – 15 minutes. Avoid sitting or lying down straight away after eating, as it may cause a decrease in digestion.
Effects: Helping digestion, relaxes the liver and gallbladder, reduces the pressure to the chest and heart.
3. Wash your mouth after eating
Traditional Chinese medicine believes that many diseases enter the body through the mouth. So every time you eat a meal simply rinse (and spit) your mouth with green tea or natural water 2 or 3 times. This is especially important when you eat strong tasting foods such as garlic, spring onions or chili. Washing your mouth after eating will also help you to protect your teeth.