The Importance Of Chewing Your Food
This Thanksgiving you may be tempted to “gobble” up that Turkey and stuffing and don’t forget the pie!! Or wash it down with a little wine or hard apple cider. The faster we shovel it in, the faster our taste buds are satisfied and our tummies are full - right? We might even need to catch the game on TV and how much we catch of the big game might depend on how fast we can stuff our bellies! I mean, there are always leftovers!
Ok - eating fast might pass once in a while, but inhaling our food on more than the occasional Thanksgiving holiday meal will more than likely lead to digestive disorders and consistent overeating because the body is not getting any nutrition from the poorly chewed food or should I say - the food that is inhaled? In addition, the failure to properly chew food can also lead to bloating and weight gain. Can anyone relate to this?
Therefore proper nutrition isn’t just about meeting macros and eating quality foods. It’s about producing the right hormonal responses in the body to food. This can be all accomplished by simply chewing your food!
When you think about what makes up the digestive system, you typically visualize the stomach and the intestinal tract. This leads many to believe that digestion starts in the stomach. However, what most don’t know is that digestion starts in the mouth! I’ll repeat that - the physical act of digesting food starts in your mouth, not in your stomach. This is perhaps one of the most critical reasons why you need to chew your food. It sets up the entire digestive process for success by allowing nutrients in food to actually be utilized by the body for its natural processes.
When it comes to the actual act of chewing, your teeth, tongue, and salivary glands all play critical roles that set up the digestive process. Your teeth grind down consumed food into more manageable and smaller bites, your salivary glands secrete various enzymes on the food to aid in absorption, and your tongue manipulates the food in your mouth to get it chewed into small enough bites before it enters the stomach.
THE BENEFITS OF CHEWING YOUR FOOD
Performing such a simple task, like chewing your food, actually produces some pretty hefty results for your health and wellbeing.
Below is a list of the health benefits you can receive from chewing your food properly.
• You Absorb More Nutrients and Energy From Your Food
• You Maintain a Healthy Weight
• Your Food Gets More Exposure to Your Saliva
• Your Food is Easier to Digest
• It’s Better for Your Teeth
• You have Less Excess Bacteria Lingering in Your Intestines
• You Enjoy and Taste Your Food!!
If you are asking yourself if you chew your food thoroughly - you probably don’t. Good news is - you can easily change this TODAY!! Once you are aware of it, you can change it - like any habit. If you are aware and want to change the habit, you can do it - it just takes time to form a NEW habit!!
• Chew slowly and steadily
• Chew until your mouthful of food is liquefied or lost all of its texture
• Finish chewing and swallowing completely before taking another bite of food
• Wait to drink fluids until you’ve swallowed
Below are a few more tips on how to improve and enhance your digestive system:
1. Chew Your Food – Don’t just chew enough to swallow. Your saliva plays a huge role in breaking down food. Take your time when eating. Start by chewing at least 30 times before swallowing.
2. No Liquids – Avoid drinking liquids 15 minutes before or after any meal. Allow your stomach the space and time needed to absorb the nutrients digested from your meal. Don’t use liquids as a replacement for your salivary glands.
3. Sit Down – Sitting down can help relax you and aid good digestion.
4. Smell Your Food – The simple act of smelling your food will switch your salivary glands on and get your stomach ready for the meal you are about to enjoy.
Remember, the digestion process starts with chewing. Not when the food is in your stomach. It may take some time for your body to adjust to these new practices, however the payoff may come in the form of improved digestion, performance, better body composition, and an overall healthier you!
Happy Turkey Day!!
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