Are you chewing your food properly?
For most of us, mindful eating is a theory. Meal time merely means putting food in the mouth, chewing three or four times and swallowing. Even those who have had a chance to attend etiquette classes only mastered how to sit, use cutlery and maintain good posture. However, it is important to remember that digestion starts in the mouth, and to make it easy for your stomach, you must swallow finely chewed food.
Parents rarely explain to their toddlers why chewing food properly is essential and most grow up never understanding or practising it.
According to scientific studies, food should be chewed about 32 times so that it loses structure before swallowing. In addition, chewing as many times as possible is proven to reduce the production of a hunger associated hormone called ghrelin.
This may honestly not be possible unless someone is intentional, because most of us chew depending on the type of food. However, if weight loss is your goal, chew your food properly and intentionally in addition to other factors.
How to practise
To ensure you consciously chew your food, monitor the times you pick the cutlery. Put the fork or spoon down between each mouthful.
Chew the food slowly; making sure every piece is totally crushed then swallow.
Now pick the cutlery again without haste and take your next mouthful.
When the cutlery is in your hands, it creates an urgency to take another bite faster than it should be taken.
Putting the fork down will help you time when the next bite should be taken and when the food is finely chewed.
Benefits of chewing food properly
Aids in weight loss
Most people will be quick to ignore this fact but it works. When you chew food intentionally and properly, you will eat slowly and feel fuller faster which will in the end keep you from consuming more food.
Good gut health
Digestion starts before we even put the food in the mouth; eating is an integral part of good gut health. When you look at the food, saliva is secreted. Chewing the food is the next activity and it gives it a large surface area to go down to the stomach and let the digestive enzymes do their work.
When we chew huge chunks, the enzymes will have a lot of work to do letting some pieces go to the gut incomplete causing a bloated, gassy tummy. Meal time should be planned and prioritised and gadgets such as mobile phones should never be used while eating since, they are distractions.
The digestion process is one of the most important activities the body experiences because without it, the body struggles. The process takes place in three major phases;
Whereas most people think their role is to eat a balanced diet, setting up the success of their digestive system is also key. It does not make a difference if you eat a balanced diet and just swallow without chewing properly. Because at the end of the day, digestion will be laboured and some of the nutrients will be lost as the system tries to clear out what is not needed.
Other benefits of chewing slowly and properly;
- It helps the body in accessing the required nutrients.
- It reduces the risk of choking.
- It eliminates the risk of food poisoning.
- It helps supply necessary nutrients to the bones.