Oh yeah, I’m supposed to CHEW my food…
When it comes to better health, it’s not just what we eat but how we eat. Digestion actually begins in the mouth, where our teeth and digestive enzymes in our saliva break down food. But these days most of us rush through the whole eating experience, barely acknowledging what we’re putting in our mouths. We eat while distracted – working, reading, and watching television – and swallow our food practically whole. On average we chew each bite only 8 times. It’s no wonder that many people have digestive issues!
There are many great reasons to slow down and chew your food:
- Saliva breaks down food into simple sugars, creating a sweet taste. The more we chew, the sweeter our food becomes, so we don’t crave those after-meal sweets (yay!).
- Chewing reduces digestive distress and produces more endorphins, the brain chemicals responsible for creating good feelings.
- Weight loss! When we are chewing well, we are more apt to notice when we are full.
So what’s a healthy chewing goal? 30 times per mouthful! I know this may seem crazy but try starting small. Begin with a goal of 15-20 times per mouthful and gradually increase over time. You’ll be chewing 30 times before you know it. Try it and see how you (and your tummy) feel.
As you create a new habit, you will begin to appreciate eating without rushing. You have to eat every day – why not learn to savor and enjoy it?