Are you chewing your food or are you inhaling it? Did you know that chewing your food is just as important as the food you are eating? Digestion begins in your mouth. When you don’t take the time to chew your food properly, your body won't digest as efficiently and you may experience all kinds of discomfort. The digestive enzymes found in your saliva begin the process of breaking the food you eat down, and preparing the nutrients for absorption. Chewing your food thoroughly is important for the maximum absorption of all the vitamins and minerals present in the foods you eat. When your food isn’t properly broken down, it can remain undigested and cause gas, bloating and indigestion.
On average, most of us are only chewing each bite 8-10 times. This is not enough! We need to chew each bite at least 30 times. This may sound like a lot, but the benefits you will get from one simple act is worth the extra time. This can help aid your digestion, boost nutrient absorption and help you maintain a healthy weight.
Aren't sure whether or not you're chewing enough? Start paying attention next time you eat to how many chews you do before you swallow. If you're far below 30 chews, make changes slowly: increase by 5 chews until you reach 30 for each bite.
Here are more tips to help you improve your digestion by chewing:
- Put your fork down between bites. This way you don’t put more in your mouth while you're already chewing.
- Savor each bite. It's worth it! The more we chew the sweeter our food becomes.
- Turn off the TV and put away other electronics. Just focus on what you're eating.
- Be kind to yourself! Creating new habits takes time. As long as you're not using your fork as a shovel, you're making progress :)