Can I eat something before I go to the sauna?

When taking a sauna, proper food and drink play an important role. In the following, we give you tips on what to look out for.
Sauna with a full stomach causes discomfort

Taking a sauna with a full stomach causes discomfort

Can I eat something before taking a sauna? For many people, taking a sauna is part of a pleasant relaxation ritual. The majority of sauna fans do this either after a strenuous work-out, after a well-earned break or on the weekend. Both beginners and advanced sauna users often ask themselves when they should ideally eat their last meal before taking a sauna. Since the digestion process takes several hours and also depends on the food consumed, this question cannot be answered offhand.

Listen to the advice of experts

Experts recommend refraining from eating a sumptuous meal before a direct visit to the sauna. After all, the body wants to relax during the sauna and strengthen the immune system. If, on the other hand, the sauna-goer has enjoyed a substantial meal in the swimming pool restaurant or canteen shortly before entering the cabin, his organism concentrates on the digestion process. The stomach breaks down the ingested food. It then processes it further. During this physically demanding process, the organism usually does not tolerate intense heat.

In addition, discomfort such as nausea or even unconsciousness occurs during sauna bathing with a full stomach. From the nausea in some cases results vomiting of the ingested food. During sauna bathing, the metabolism focuses on sweating. Therefore, the blood pressure experiences an increase. Due to the high heat, the sweat glands are also busy. A digestive process, on the other hand, means distraction.

Taking a sauna on an empty stomach is detrimental to health

Taking a sauna on an empty stomach usually has a harmful effect and a negative impact on your health. When you go to the sauna hungry, your body can’t provide enough energy to help your metabolism sweat. This can lead to dizziness, nausea, and even temporary unconsciousness. The body needs food to meet energy demands and to cope with the physiological demands of going to the sauna.

Another reason why going to the sauna on an empty stomach can be problematic is blood sugar levels. Without adequate food intake, blood sugar levels can drop and lead to hypoglycemia. This condition is accompanied by symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, tremors and possibly even fainting.

In addition, taking a sauna on an empty stomach can lead to dehydration. During saunas, the body loses a significant amount of fluid through sweating. If you have not consumed enough water and nutrients beforehand, you are at an increased risk of becoming dehydrated. Dehydration can cause various health problems, including headaches, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and even cardiovascular problems.

When and what should sauna devotees eat before a sauna session?

Eating a suitable meal before going to the sauna will ensure that sauna devotees feel good during their sauna session and can take full advantage of the sauna’s health benefits. It is best to eat the meal about one to two hours before going to the sauna to allow enough time for digestion.

A sandwich is a popular option for a light meal before going to the sauna. It offers a balanced mix of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats that provide energy and satiety to the body without weighing down the stomach. A version with lean meat or fish, fresh vegetables and a healthy sauce can be a good choice.

Alternatively, a light salad can also be a good choice. Salads with lots of fresh vegetables and maybe even some lean protein like chicken breast or tofu provide good nutrients without weighing the body down. However, avoid heavy dressings or too many high-fat side dishes so you don’t feel heavy during your sauna session.

No-go’s before going to the sauna

Greasy food, French fries, fast food, kebabs as well as the popular curry sausage, on the other hand, are not among the ideal snacks before a sauna visit. These foods often contain a variety of additives and are rich in carbohydrates. As a result, they burden the body in several ways. For one, the digestion process takes much longer with these heavy foods than with lighter alternatives like salads. When the body is busy digesting, this can lead to an uncomfortable feeling during the sauna session.

In addition, fatty and heavy meals combined with sauna heat can trigger nausea. The heat in the sauna already causes blood vessels to dilate and stimulates circulation. If the body is then additionally busy digesting foods high in fat and carbohydrates, this can lead to an unpleasant feeling that interferes with sauna enjoyment.

Don’t forget to drink

A good way to compensate for fluid loss while taking a sauna is to drink water regularly. The body sweats intensely to remove excess heat, and a lot of fluid is lost in the process. To avoid dehydration and keep the body hydrated, drink plenty during rest breaks. Do not wait until you feel thirsty, because thirst is a sign that the body is already dehydrated.

Besides water, other beverages such as unsweetened teas or isotonic drinks can be a good choice to balance the electrolyte balance in the body. Pay attention to your body and drink accordingly to ensure a pleasant sauna experience and minimize potential health risks.


The sauna cookbook: from infusion to indulgence

A sauna can do much more than make people sweat! In this highly unusual cookbook from the cold north of Europe, the two authors show that the Finns are rightly considered a bit crazy. With their portraits of Finland’s most beautiful and weirdest saunas, they whet the appetite for shared sauna evenings with friends and, at the same time, with over 90 recipes that are easy to follow (even without a sauna), they whet the appetite for insanely delicious dishes from hot stoves. The perfect gift for sauna lovers and those who want to become one.

Das Sauna-Kochbuch: Vom Aufguss zum Hochgenuss


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