This might sound ridiculous but you need to chew your food. If that’s all you get from this post, then you are golden. I, myself, need this reminder at least a few times per year, if not monthly, or heck weekly. It’s easy to get busy or distracted and not realize we are scarfing our food down BUT it needs to stop, for your health that is.
While, you could take my word for it (and you should), let’s dig a bit deeper into WHY you need to chew your food.
The Start of Your Digestion
If I asked you where your digestion started, what would you say?
Your digestion starts before you even get food in your pie hole. That’s right, digestion starts OUT of the body. Shocking, I know. Your digestion starts in your brain and if it doesn’t we are already behind the eight ball and asking more of our digestive system than is necessary.
Let’s take a step back.
When I say Bacon or Chocolate Chip Cookie or *enter your favorite food ever* do you start salivating? I, no joke, am sitting on a plane where it’s dry as a desert and I started salivating the second I typed Bacon. Your brain is the gateway to your digestion.
Not to mention with the help of your eyes, nose, ears, etc. you start the process even more. I mean who can resist the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies? I dare you to tell me you don’t start salivating immediately.
Why does this happen?
Well, your body is preparing for the food in more ways than just a pool of spit in your mouth. That pool of spit has ENZYMES in it that help to break down food. That’s right, your spit has these enzymes called amylase & lipase both of which are enzymes that are needed to break down carbohydrates & fats (proteins get a little help as well).
So, really I should’ve started this article with THINK ABOUT YOUR FOOD before you CHEW YOUR FOOD. This thought process allows us to start digesting before food is even eaten.
Chew, Chew, Chew Your Food
Once you form that little pool of spit (sounds gross, sorry I keep saying it) then you can start eating. Things are off to a great start! 1-2-SWALLOW. Shoot, we just swallowed an entire wad of food and OH NO, HERE COMES THE NEXT BITE.
I can guarantee that over 50% of you reading this (even if only 2 people are out there reading) do not chew your food enough. We should be chewing our food upwards of 10-20 times before we swallow. Go ahead, count it, I’ll wait.
We need to chew our food to help the digestion process work optimally. There is literally an order of operations and while we can power through hiccups in said process, eventually it starts to backfire.
Yes, by not chewing our food we ask MORE of our bodies. The food wad (or bolus) travels down the esophagus to the doorway (sphincter) to our stomach. At this point, the food should have been chewed WELL and formed into something more manageable for the stomach. If we salivate appropriately and we chew appropriately, we set our stomach (and the rest of the system) up for success.
If we don’t, we can start experiencing symptoms like:
- And more
Do you experience any of those symptoms? Have you EVER slowed down to see how much you are chewing? Start there.
No joke, many digestive woes can be fixed by simple slowing down and chewing your food. We are not meant to be eating on the move. Our body wants to be in a state of “rest and digest” when eating. That means we need to sit down, slow down, and chew our food THOROUGHLY.
Put Your Fork Down
Not to mention, we shove food in the second we swallow again OR we are still chewing. Put your fork down, and take a breather. Once you realize how much you are not chewing, you may also realize how you NEVER put your fork down until you’re done.
Putting the fork (or spoon/knife/handheld item) down will not only allow you the time to chew but also slow you down in general. Have you ever eaten a full meal and not realized how uncomfortably full you were until it’s too late?! Put your fork down and chew more and you’ll be surprised at how your body responds. Save the leftovers for tomorrow 😉
So, if nothing else today, chew your food like you mean it, chew, chew, chew away!
I challenge you to count how many times you chew your food today, and see if you are actually chewing, or just scarfing your food down.