By Heather Willett
We are living in a time where we are saturated with information concerning health and weight loss. Food choices always play a role, but have you ever considered how eating your food may be contributing to your overall health? Chewing our food may seem like very basic knowledge and even becomes habit by the time we are a year old, but most of us don’t fully understand all the ways proper chewing can benefit our health and assist in weight loss.
Aids in Proper Digestion
Chewing food is the first step in the digestive process. When you chew food you are mechanically breaking it down into manageable particles. Salivary glands are triggered and saliva is created to coat the food with necessary enzymes, which begin to digest fats and starches immediately. This allows for easier digestion as it moves through our bodies.
Chewing signals the body to prepare for digestion – the stomach begins to produce acid and the pancreas starts secreting enzymes into the intestines. When you chew your food you are creating a larger surface area for these fluids to do their work, which leads to fewer digestive problems, such as gas and bloating.
Better Absorption of Nutrients
It has been proven that with longer chewing the body absorbs more healthy fat and protein – which are put to use building more muscle. Additionally, because the pancreas is engaged and its enzymes are able to access more of the food’s surface, it is able to more efficiently turn the food into energy and fuel for our bodies. Lastly, certain vitamins and minerals are made more available for absorption when food is broken down, especially raw foods as it has a similar effect to cooking. The best way to get the most out of your food and the chewing process is to take your time, chew slowly and often until the food has lost its texture.
Helps Maintain Healthy Weight
It is a known fact that most people inhale their food within a matter of seven minutes. This typically means that the food isn’t broken down enough to really help the body do its job. Spending a little more time to chew food means you are not only burning more calories, but you are eating slower. It takes approximately 20 minutes for the brain to register fullness, so when people eat quickly they tend to eat more because they haven’t given their brains long enough to identify if the stomach is full. Slowing down will cause you to eat less and will ultimately aid in healthy weight loss.
Appropriately chewing food prevents improperly digested food from entering the blood stream and causing adverse health effects. Less chewing can lead to food allergies or sensitivities, which can also impede weight loss, but it also means an excess of bacteria is left behind in the intestines. A variety of digestive diseases or conditions can arise from a lack of digestion including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Small Bowel Bacterial Overgrowth (SBBO), Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and even esophageal cancer.
Health and even weight loss goals should begin with the basics. Correct digestion is one of the building blocks to a healthier lifestyle and is a simple way to take control over your own health.