Food is one of the important aspects of our lives. It gives us not only nourishment but also brings health and joy, and when it is consumed incorrectly, it can cause sickness. Our physical and mental health predominantly depend on the food we eat. What we eat is important, and how we eat it is also equally important. We focus greatly on what we eat but miss on the important aspect of how we eat.
Many of us hurriedly eat while watching TV, or we are lost in conversations and family time while eating. We rarely give attention to what’s on the plate. But this approach to food is not wholesome as it can lead to overeating and improper chewing of food. When food is not chewed well, the enzymes required to break down the food are not produced in sufficient quantity, and this leads to digestion problems like indigestion, bloating etc.
Chewing the food well is an important aspect of eating, which needs our attention. This aspect is widely neglected, but it needs to be incorporated into our routine for the benefits this little habit offers.
Below are some benefits of chewing food well.
1. Proper digestion – We think the digestive system implies the stomach and intestines, but our digestive system starts at the mouth. Mouth plays an important role in proper digestion. When food is chewed well, saliva is mixed with the food, and saliva contains many enzymes that help the digestion process. Teeth break down the food into smaller pieces of food and make digestion easier. So, it’s important to chew the food properly for proper digestion.
2. Helps in weight loss – One of the easiest ways of weight loss is to chew the food well. To chew food well, it consumes some amount of time. You cannot eat your food in 5 to 10 minutes and close it when you actually try to chew the food. This additional amount of time gives the brain some time to register the signal from the stomach that it’s time to stop eating. When we eat food quickly, even though the stomach is full, the brain thinks the body needs food because the signal from the stomach did not reach it. So, you tend to overeat. But when you take that time in chewing, the brain gets the signal to stop eating, and you cannot overeat. This leads to weight loss.
Research has shown that people who thoroughly chew their food burn more calories, and their food intake comes down. So, all these factors eventually lead to weight loss.
3. Proper assimilation – We spend time and effort to choose the right kinds of foods that are filled with nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, good fats etc. But these nutrients can be assimilated by the body only when food is chewed well and mixed with saliva. Without the enzymes from saliva, the body cannot fully absorb the nutrients present in the food.
4. Reduces the burden on the stomach – When we don’t chew well, large chunks of food enter the stomach, and the stomach needs to work hard to digest them. This is an unnecessary burden on the stomach. This can be avoided by chewing well in the mouth.
5. Increases enjoyment – When you chew the food thoroughly, you enjoy the food. Food tastes better, and you feel more satisfied.
6. Reduces food cravings – When nutrients in the food are not well assimilated by the stomach, the body keeps asking for more food because it is deprived. When you chew food well, you feel satisfied because the body receives more nutrients. This helps in reducing your food cravings. When you properly chew your food, you can overcome the temptation of junk food.
7. Improves mouth health – When we chew the food well, more saliva is released in the mouth. Saliva has the property of washing away the harmful bacteria and food remnants from the mouth. This prevents the formation of cavities and improves the health of teeth and mouth.
These are some benefits of chewing your food thoroughly.
Chew your food so well that it becomes a paste in your mouth. You can chew 15 to 30 times per bite or chew each bite for 30 seconds.
Below are some tips that help you chew well.
1. Right foods: Choose foods that need more chewing, like salads, vegetables, fruits. Add whole foods to your diet like brown rice, whole wheat flour, millets etc. Such foods can be chewed for a longer duration.
2. Avoid refined foods – Refined foods do not contain fiber, and you cannot really chew them well even though you want to. Avoid cakes, pastries, chips, white rice, white flour, sweets etc. All these foods can be easily swallowed due to the lack of fiber.
3. Keep a count – Many times, we chew the food very little, but we don’t realize it. So, keep a count of the number of times you are chewing each bite and then increase your count accordingly.
4. Eat mindfully – When you eat your food with total mindfulness without distractions like TV and mobile, it becomes easier to chew the food thoroughly. So, eat your food mindfully.
5. Avoid becoming too hungry – When you become too hungry, it becomes challenging to chew the food well as you will be in a hurry to satisfy hunger, and in a hurry, you tend to swallow food. So, plan your meal timings properly and avoid extreme hunger.
6. Allocate some peaceful time – When you are in a hurry to eat, you cannot chew well. So, dedicate at least 20 minutes of time for eating your meals. Try to eat as slowly as you can without hurrying for the next task.
These are some tips that help you chew your food well.
Thoroughly chewing your food is an easy and a great tip to improve your health and lose weight. It does not need any extra equipment or some fancy foods. All it needs is your awareness and your will to chew well. Start it right away from your next meal to achieve that weight loss goal you have been desiring.
Wish you good health!