Questions about sauna and eating have been circulating on different forums lately. Aside from choosing which sauna options is great— home sauna, traditional steam sauna, or infrared sauna, people also want to know whether to take sauna on an empty stomach or on a full stomach.
Saunas are known to use heat to help people detoxify their bodies, lose weight, and lower cholesterol. Hence, avid sauna users want to know whether eating before sauna can affect the results they aim for.
Let’s find out in the succeeding sections below!
Is it safe to eat before the sauna?
The straightforward answer to this questions is a NO.
But here’s the deal. You shouldn’t go take the sauna when you’re hungry either. The most appropriate or the best time to take the sauna is when you’re neither full nor hungry.
The Solution: Eat a couple of hours (approximately 3 hours) before taking the sauna. However, you can take light snacks— such as hot tea, yogurt, and fruits— a few minutes before the sauna. That would give your system enough time to digest the food you eat but still have enough carbs to burn later on.
What happens if you eat before taking a sauna?
To understand fully why eating prior to the sauna is not advisable, let us first understand what happens to our body if we go to the sauna right after eating.
Taking a sauna is like going on a workout. You sweat a lot, your heart beats faster as if you’re doing a cardio, and your system pumps more blood.
Now, if your stomach is full, your body is supposed to use the energy to digest the food you just ate. However, because you get inside the sauna straight from eating, your body’s energy is then used to cope with or balance your body’s heat to that of your surrounding.
So, what happens then? Your body will get confused about what to prioritize: digesting the food or coping with the stress caused by the heat, thus making you feel uncomfortable inside the sauna.
What happens if you take the sauna when hungry?
Now, let’s consider the opposite. What if you take the sauna when you’re hungry?
When you go in hungry, your body will be in need of calories. Therefore, you might end up taking too much water. While water may be high, it may result in the heart rate going up. When the heart rate is high, the body needs to burn more calories to keep the balance.
But going to the sauna with an empty stomach makes the body prone to break down, simply because there’s not much energy stored to cope with the heating process. It’s basically like taking rigorous activities even though your body is unconditioned and undernourished.
So what happens? You will feel lightheaded due to excessive sweating and irregular heartbeat.
What to do during sauna
- Begin by sitting at the higher bench.
- For better relaxation, take deep breaths.
- If you want the room to feel hotter, throw water at the stones.
- While in the sauna, listen to your body.
- When contented, step out and preferably take another shower.
How long you should stay in the sauna is a personal decision. However, if it is your first time in a sauna, we recommend waiting for a shorter duration of 10 minutes. Meanwhile, for healthy individuals, just take a break every after 15 to 20 minutes to allow your body to cool off and then enter the infrared sauna again for another session.
Remember: It is only advisable to take a second session. Avoid going in for a third one to avoid rising your body temperature to unsafe levels.