In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, it can be difficult to enjoy a relaxing meal. Instead, we inhale our food on the run, in the car, or in front of a screen. Most of us probably don’t even think about chewing our food; it is just a habit once the food hits our mouth.
How important is it to chew our food thoroughly? Does it really matter?
Yes, it is extremely important; it is one of the first steps in your digestion process. The way you chew your food, and how well you chew your food, can significantly impact your health.
Reasons to thoroughly chew your food
More nutrients and energy can be absorbed from food. The smaller the particle, the more easily food can be digested. This prevents improperly digested foods from entering the blood and causing adverse effects to your health; such as creating inflammation and putting undue stress on the liver.
Maintain healthy weight. Research has shown that eating slowly can help you eat less, actually up to 10% fewer calories. It takes the brain about 20 minutes to signal your stomach that you are full. By slowing down, chewing thoroughly can be a simple way to manage portion control.
Food is exposed to more saliva. Why is this important? Saliva contains important digestive enzymes which will begin to break down your food. This is especially true of carbohydrates and fats. This in turn helps your stomach and small intestine with digesting the food. The chewing process breaks food down into smaller pieces, and partially liquefies it. Digestion is a very demanding process for your body, requiring a significant amount of energy. If food is properly broken down, the stomach works more efficiently.
Less Bacteria in your intestine. If large particles enter your intestines, bacteria will begin to break it down (it will start to putrefy). This can lead to gas and bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and cramping; none of which are fun for any of us!
Did you know there is actually a word that means to chew slowly and thoroughly? It is fletcherize. The actual definition is “chewing food until it is reduced to a finely divided, liquefied mass”. The origin comes from the early 1900’s nutritionist, Horace Fletcher. He believed food should be chewed 100 times before swallowing! Now I would bet none of us will want to do this, or spend time counting every bite of food we eat.
So here are some simple tips to better chew your food.
Tips for chewing your food.
- Take smaller bites in the first place.
- Chew slowly and steadily.
- Chew until the food is liquefied. If you are eating a soft food such as yogurt, it is still important to allow the saliva to mix with soft foods to aid digestion.
- Finish chewing and swallowing before taking another bite.
- Drink fluids after you have completely swallowed.
Food textures may differ, and there is no magic number as to how many times you should chew your food. It is best to chew your food so thoroughly that the texture is even. If you can no longer identify what food it is by its texture, you have chewed enough.
Healthy digestion and nutrient absorption begin with the simple act of chewing your food; so slow down, enjoy, and savor your meals; your body will greatly appreciate it.
I hope you enjoyed this post. If this post was helpful, leave a comment to let me know, and share the post if you think others would find it helpful.