At-home infrared saunas can be life-changing. Whether you use a sauna session to prepare for a busy day ahead or to unwind after a particularly long day, the convenience of having a sauna so close is unmatched. It’s natural that you would want to share the benefits of your sauna with your friends, family, and neighbors. Entertaining in your sauna is a great way to elevate any get together!
However, there are certain things that need careful consideration before, during, and after any sauna session – like is serving food appropriate? How much should people eat when enjoying sauna time? Is drinking alcohol okay or should you stick to water before and during time in the heat?
Most traditional sauna types aren’t just good for their relaxing effects; they can also provide many different health benefits such as increased blood-oxygen levels (which can help prevent heart disease), increased metabolism, pain relief, toxins release, reduced muscle soreness, and much more. Make sure to do you and your guests justice by prepping properly beforehand in order to get the most of these potential health benefits!
You should be neither full nor hungry when using a sauna or steam room. When you have a full stomach, your body’s focus is on digestion, which can result in nausea and vomiting in the increased heat. Having an empty stomach, on the other hand, might result in dizziness and shaking. To achieve the sweet spot, you and your guests should eat a few hours before any sauna sessions to allow your bodies time to prepare. You could also eat during the sauna session to keep your energy levels up.
Continue reading to learn more about the best meals to eat before and after your infrared sauna session, as well as some delicious snacks if you’re feeling peckish.
Digestion and Sauna Use
After you ingest a big meal, you might feel sluggish, heavy, and drowsy. Most people would rather go to sleep than do any activity in that state. It is important to not eat right before a sauna session in the same way you would not go to the gym after a large meal. In both cases, sitting in a sauna and exercising, your heart rate increases and your body needs more energy.
When you’re subjected to extreme heat or cold, your body has to work harder and your heart rate will rise by up to 30%. This increases the rate at which you burn calories in your body.
You should eat a meal 2–4 hours before you hit the sauna because it takes that long for at least 50% of food to exit your stomach. If eating before, make sure not to overdo it and stick with light foods including fruits or vegetables! Also, be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. It’s not advised to drink alcohol before or during a sauna session.
Sauna Bathing on a Full Stomach
You should not sit in an infrared sauna after eating a large meal. You won’t get the most out of your session if you do it while you are full, and you’ll undoubtedly feel awful afterward.
The body needs unstressed blood circulation for healthy sweating. However, a lot of blood is required for digestion and if you have filled your stomach directly before entering the sauna, sweating becomes strenuous for your body.
Dizziness, lightheadedness, or even mild fainting can occur as a result of the sauna heat in that state. You might get bloated, nauseated, or have reflux or diarrhea as a result of the sauna heat.
Not Eating Before a Sauna Session
When you go into a sauna hungry, your body will crave food. As a result, you may end up drinking too much water. While water is good for you, it can raise the heart rate. When the heart rate is high, the body must burn extra calories to maintain equilibrium.
The sauna can be a tough experience if you go in without eating first since your body has no energy to cope with the heating process. It puts the body at risk of breakdown. It’s similar to performing intense activities while your body is unaccustomed and undernourished – you quickly become tired and worn out.
What happens when you take a sauna bath on an empty stomach? Due to excessive sweat and irregular heartbeat, you will become dizzy and shaky. You will generally feel uncomfortable.
Finding the Balance: Using a Sauna When Neither Starving nor with a Full Stomach
When you’re in an infrared sauna, your body is working similarly to when you exercise, but instead of powering your muscles, it’s regulating body temperature. The crucial thing is that you need calories for both. Hence, when you are sweating away in the sauna, it’s important to know how much food will help keep your energy levels up and provide the necessary vitamins.
A good rule of thumb before a sauna bath session is the same that applies to playing any sport or exercising: have something in your stomach, but do not be too full in order to avoid negative consequences like feeling sick or fainting. You don’t want either extreme – hungry or overfull.
The ideal mealtime is two to three hours before a sauna bath, just like it is with exercise. This gives your stomach time to settle down while also assuring you have adequate energy for the activity.
When you eat, your body is working hard to digest the food. Your body is also working hard when you sweat in the sauna. As a result, you must plan your meal so that your body may focus on one thing at a time (digestion or sauna sweating in this case). If you are planning a meal for a group, consider having a light dinner or snacks before the sauna. You could also prepare light snacks to enjoy in the sauna, as long as the food is still good in the heat!
Great Food for Pre- and Post-Sauna Use
Meals Before Sauna Bathing
If you’re stumped on what to eat or not eat, have difficulty planning, or just want some suggestions for your sauna party, there are a few things you need to know! Small snacks may be eaten as little as 30 minutes before your sauna session.
There are many delicious things you can make into small bites to serve before sauna use, but don’t forget to give it time to settle. You could do so much with fruits, vegetables, yogurt, peanut butter, energy bars, hard-boiled eggs, bread, or something else thirty minutes before your sauna session.
The best snacks are light and healthy. For example, drinking a protein shake or smoothie is good, but don’t overdo it with the portion size!
You want to know what to have as a pre-sauna meal an hour or two before? Try making a pasta dish or grilling lean meats and vegetables. Nothing too heavy, but substantial enough to satisfy your hunger.
If you have a large meal or an entire day of eating planned, be sure to give your body adequate time to digest anything you consume. Allow about 30 minutes for snacks and an hour for light meals before your sauna time, but wait two or more hours after a really large meal.
Meals After Sauna Bathing
Food is an essential part of any good sauna session. It can be difficult to find the energy needed after being in a hot room, so eating some food will help you and your guests replenish some of the depleted resources. You should provide quick carbohydrates and protein as post-saunas healthy snacks. It would give them something tasty to end the party too!
You should drink water as soon as possible after finishing your sauna session to replace the moisture lost while sweating. If you can, offer a drink with electrolytes for optimal recovery.
Hydrate with water, pickle juice, or low-sugar sports drinks. Coconut water is also a quick and easy way to replenish lost sodium and potassium! It’s refreshing and it tastes good – not too sweet like other juices, which can be harsh on your stomach at times. Coconut water contains vital nutrients, like electrolytes, that will help keep you energized after a sauna session.
How Do Saunas Affect Your Metabolism?
There is no doubting the benefits of incorporating regular sauna use into your wellness and fitness plan. We recommend infrared sauna therapy if you are serious about losing weight and want a solution with long-term effects that has several health benefits aside from weight loss. Here is how a sauna can help you slim down and improve your overall health conditions:
Offers Increased Calorie Burning
Having a sauna session is an excellent way to increase your metabolism, which will result in more calories being burned. The increased heat from the sauna can help you reach this goal faster than ever before!
The sauna is a great way to sweat out that extra weight and toxins while boosting your normal sedentary calorie burn. Saunas also raise the heart rate by at least 30%, which necessitates more energy and burns more calories.
A sauna’s calorie-burning potency is especially advantageous if you use a sauna after working out. The boost provided by a sauna can help extend the benefits of exercise for hours, giving an extra calorie burn that lasts all day long!
Saunas can help with lipids as well, particularly fat and cholesterol. Infrared therapy has been shown to enter deep into fat cells and improve blood circulation to the region, ultimately aiding detoxification.
There are several health benefits to using an infrared sauna, including an increase in good cholesterol and a decrease in bad cholesterol (HDL and LDL respectively), according to a recent study. The findings are in line with the benefits of moderate exercise on good cholesterol levels. In addition, a reduction in bad cholesterol is a fantastic indication of weight loss and enhanced health.
Offers Pain Relief
The best way to eliminate aches and pains might be with an infrared sauna! Not only can it help you lose weight, but the healing effects of this therapy can last for months as it helps to reduce muscle soreness.
While a daily exercise routine is one of the most important things in terms of getting into shape and losing weight, experiencing any pain in your joints or muscles can be a big discouragement. You can use an infrared sauna to alleviate, and sometimes even eliminate, pain and discomfort. How does this work?
Infrared heat treatment relaxes tight muscles and tendons by heating them from the inside out. The heat signals the body to be wary of a false fever, causing it to produce additional white blood cells to reduce symptoms of inflammation and edema.
With less tension, improved mobility, and more efficient healing, you can now be more active without sacrificing your muscles!
Encourages Healthy Sleep Patterns
The connection between sleep and health has been extensively studied. Sleep helps you maintain your mental balance, which in turn supports a healthy lifestyle because it enables better judgment when making choices.
Lack of adequate rest, on the other hand, can lead to impaired judgment that results in cravings for indulgent foods or seeking out unnecessary snacks as an energy source.
All this is apart from being stressed or anxious about what’s going on around us at home or work. These factors have been shown to be linked with unhealthy eating patterns as well. A good night’s sleep, however, ensures we get enough quality rest so our brains don’t go haywire while processing information.
Infrared saunas affect the autonomic nervous system to put you in the parasympathetic state, which aids relaxation and good sleep.
Sauna therapy has been shown to reduce stress, improve blood pressure and circulation, and help you achieve a “cleansed” feeling. However, it is important to properly prepare for and recover from any sauna session. This includes thinking about what a person eats when they use a sauna. If you are hosting friends and would like to offer a fun sauna bathing session in your personal at-home sauna, be sure to provide food and drink and think about when to serve it. Anybody with pre-existing conditions should consult with their physician before using saunas or steam rooms.
If you are ready to get all the benefits of a regular sauna regimen right in the comfort of your own home, look no further than The Sauna Life. We have several sauna options that can fit your specific needs. Feel free to browse the options on our website. You can schedule a free consultation online or by calling 513-309-2527. Reach out today!