I’ve had a number of individuals tell me their digestive systems are upset! Ugh! They’re bloated, have some pain, might be constipated, or plagued by diarrhea. Some of this can be attributed to the stress of today’s times.
However, much of it might be caused by our current lives keeping us from properly eating our nourishing food. Think about it. You might be working from home, and trying to get everyone else in the family fed – only to find yourself standing by the sink eating your food as quickly as possible. Or maybe you’ve headed back to your office, and you wolf down your lunch because there is so much to do before heading home. Possibly, you are just a fast eater normally.
Literally think about chewing your food – no matter where you are eating. Chewing your food is more important than most of us think….and harder to do than most of us realize!
Properly chewing our food helps it to digest thoroughly. Chewing, grinding and mashing foods allow naturally-occurring digestive enzymes to do their work properly. Just looking at or smelling food causes these enzymes to be released in our saliva, and the enzyme process continues throughout the digestive tract.
Enzymes are also found in foods - nature gives them what they need to be digested once you eat them. Along with those made in your body, they work on the surfaces of pieces of food, so the more surfaces – from chewing – the better the enzymes can work. Enzymes not only work to help digest your food, they also help the digested food be absorbed, so what you’ve eaten can be used.
Chewing your food might help you consume fewer calories as well. Studies have shown individuals who chewed each bite 32-40 times consumed 12% fewer calories, around 67 fewer, then those who only chewed each bite 15 times. Don’t count calories – count how many times you chew!
Think about this the next time you eat. Try to consciously chew, chew, chew! Put your fork down between each bite, if that helps. Think about the food you are eating and prepare it for proper digestion. Your body will thank you!
To Your Vitality – and To Your Chewing!
As an aside, this might be a great dining Science activity! Try it with your family for a few days and see if anyone feels better or different. Then, let me know!