Digestion cut: myth or reality?

Borja, how you “hang around” will kill you. Finish off the melon first, and then the three hours of digestion. Even Joaquín Sabina in one of his celebrated songs made reference to the usual rest after lunch on the beach. The threat of a cut of digestion, so skillfully managed by our parents to ensure our nap, and with it their own rest, remains a must of the summer. However, what is true about it? Is it like the cuponazo that someone touches but nobody knows who? Is the digestion cut a myth or a reality?

The cut of aquatic digestion is a myth

The digestion cut by immersion in water, understood as stopping the digestive function, like a washing machine that suddenly stops in the middle of the program and leaves the clothes gently wobbling from one side to the other, does not exist. Now, is it convenient to get into the water after the meal, and even more so in infant mode, throwing a bomb or holding our breath while we do three cartwheels underwater? Neither

Why should we not bathe after eating?

Digestion is a process of transforming food into simpler substances so that they can be absorbed. This task of “clearing” and disintegrating food is done by mechanical and chemical processes. In this way, just as the washing machine we were talking about requires electricity to centrifuge and mix water with detergent and clothes, our digestive system requires oxygen to stir and mix gastric juices with food.

In order to carry out all these processes, a greater blood flow to the digestive system is plugged in after the meal . In relation to that “concentration of blood in the stomach” some of the phrases of the Spanish proverb originate: The brave Spanish, after eating, feels cold or the fine Spanish, after eating feels cold. This is also why after a large meal some of the bodily functions may go into “energy saving” mode and drowsiness may appear.

Bathing slows the heart rate and constricts the peripheral blood vessels. Similarly, if we do any other type of physical exercise (which would include swimming) the blood is redistributed (diverting more blood flow to the moving muscles, for example). In these cases, the blood supply to the stomach is less and the digestion may not stop, but may slow down, leading to dizziness, nausea or even vomiting. The complication of these dizziness occurring inside the water is greater than “on dry land” due to the risk of drowning.

Hydrocution: the “true” aquatic death.

Hydrocution is a horrible and dramatic word that comes to mean “execution by water.”

It consists of an individual who is suddenly submerged in water entering cardiorespiratory arrest as a result of thermal shock. This is due to the difference in temperature between the water and your skin or the entry of cold water through your airways. This fact is independent of the digestion of the individual (although it is possible that a pantagruélico feast before the immersion does not help much).

It is an infrequent death although we must take precautions to avoid it. Prevention would consist, first of all, of always entering the water progressively. Yes, exactly as Borja’s mother does , like those ladies who, before entering the water, refresh their napes and wrists in an infinite ritual, indolently obstructing the entrance to the pool, to finally swim in the frog style without getting wet. hair or remove sunglasses. Borja’s mother will be hated by the entire pool, but from heat shock she is safe.

We should also not enter cold water if we are very hot from sun exposure or have just done physical exercise, to avoid the highest temperature contrast. Another predisposing factor may be a state of nervousness or previous alcohol intake due to the peripheral vasodilation it produces.

The Apothecary’s Advice

My advice, and without precedent, is aligned with that of Borja’s mother : the two or three hours of beach or pool rest after lunch are sacred. We will not avoid the “digestion cut” since, as we have seen, it does not exist, but we can avoid indigestion and even heat stroke . Let’s not forget that it is dangerous to expose children to the sun in the middle of the day .

It is also important to apply common sense: it is not the same as Borja having eaten only the melon in the song that, prior to the melon, the child had stuck a Valencian paella in the most fritanga-lover beach bar in Gandía. The duration and intensity of digestions also depend on how ingested food is quantitatively and qualitatively.

As for the hydrocution , just as it does not occur to anyone to put the hot pan directly under the tap, no one should think to jump into a pool of cold water after running for half an hour and still suffocating. Be very careful with the fashionable parties on board boats or the traditional ones on the edge of any pond. The grim reaper lays eyes on euphoric young people who, after hours in the sun and in crab mode, decide to jump into the water with three more glasses. As Borja’s mother would say , youth divine treasure.

And now, once the digestion cut has been demystified but you have been presented with a greater “coconut” such as hydrocution , think about the best way to explain it to your children without creating trauma and never ever make the mistake of forgiving them their nap. summer. Either that, or hobby them to see the Tour. It is vital to world peace in general and to that of your home in particular. Then do not say that I do not make it easy for you.


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