Benefits of Chewing Food Properly
I have been working as a nutrition counselor for many years and I can tell from experience that everyone wants to know the next best supplement or diet that would help them with their problems.
But when I tell them that the way you eat is even more important from what you eat, most of people don’t believe me. All the media, internet, TV, radio and magazines are full of best recipes, best new teas, products, supplements and the weirdest next new tools and toys that will help you with your health and weight loss and what not.
But it is our lifestyle habits that got us in the trouble at first place. Maybe this sounds a little bit counter-productive to write about this on a website that promotes health supplements but hear me out.
One of the most important ignored facts in this field is “how we eat” our food and why chewing food properly is more important than your diet!
Why chewing food properly is important?
People think that our digestion begins in the stomach. Of course stomach is the first organ that you know has this acid which breaks down your foods and then the food goes further down the “digestion pipe” where beneficial bacteria breaks it down and so on…
That is WRONG!
Digestion begins in our mouth! Human saliva is not just liquid that randomly found its way into our mouth so that we would swallow food easier.
When you are chewing food thoroughly you are actually signaling your brain through receptors in your mouth that you need enzymes to digest food.
Then your brain activates salivary glands to secrete saliva full of digestive enzymes, which are the essential component in beginning the process of digestion of dietary starches and fats.
I am always advocating chewing food thoroughly and when I see people eating too fast I try and remind them of this importance. But, because this fact is not publicly being recognized, people in general think I am crazy.
Because this means changing habits. How can I possible change the habit of chewing food thoroughly when it is my job that doesn’t let me? I need to eat my food as fast as I can, siting up and then rush back to my workplace. I have never done this, this feels weird. Nobody in my family eats like that – we all eat as fast as possible and then move on with our daily life…
I have heard it all, believe me. But I am not writing this because of me. I have learned this from my father. He always said: ”If I don’t have the time or a chance in my life to sit down, eat good high quality home grown food and really enjoy eating… then there is no point in living this life!”
Those are his words and even though we disagreed on many things, that is the one thing I completely agree with him.
Ok, so Chewing Food Properly, What Does that Even Mean?
First, the next time before you eat anything, first take a moment and show some gratitude that you have food available, not everyone on this planet is lucky to have it. There, I had to let that out.
Chewing is an unconscious reflex and if you are not consciously taking control over it, it will just happen naturally. But if you are aware of it, and try and control it, you will notice that most of the time we eat our food way too fast.
You should chew your food so much that it completely liquifies in your mouth. That is probably not a word you hear every day. Yes, the food you are eating you are supposed to swallow it down as a liquid and not big chunks of dry food – which is hard to swallow anyways. And some people have a glass of drink ready to help them swallow dry food.
It is NOT dry food that is problem. The problem is not chewing enough! If you are helping yourself by drinking some water or soda over the food you were supposed to chew, you are making a huge mistake.
You are not getting any of the most important enzymes from your saliva, and you are not activating your salivary glands to do the work for you.
This is slowing down your digestion a lot.
That means that some foods that are drier will take longer to become a liquid in your mouth. And that is completely right. The change of this habit will give you an opportunity to enjoy your food for longer, and you should. Like I mentioned earlier, in general, we should really appreciate every meal and not take it for granted.
So, what if the food is in liquid form, like soups and stews?
Those are already liquid so you just swallow them as fast as possible right? WRONG! Now here is where people think I am absolutely crazy. Try this in public and you will see, people will think you are crazy too!
When you are eating soups and stews or other food in liquid form, also shakes and smoothies try this thing:
You really should take a moment to hold that food in your mouth, activate the chewing response of your saliva. You will feel your saliva filling up your mouth and that is what you should achieve.
Pretend the food is not liquid and chew it anyway for a moment, even if it is a soup. Feel your saliva mixing up with the liquid food in your mouth, bingo!
Now you are adding salivary enzymes to your liquid food! Your soup, stew, and especially high nutrient dense shake or smoothie experienced the power of your body’s naturally present enzymes for the very first time!
Feeling crazy already? Try chewing soup in front of your family or friends and see their reaction. Great, now you got the chance to explain to them why this is important.
Benefits of Chewing Food Thoroughly
1. Most important benefit is increased food digestion and absorption.
I can’t stress out enough how important this is for all so healthy smoothies and green shakes that are promoted these days. These high density nutritional foods in liquid form are full of dietary starches and fiber.
These DO NOT break down properly if they don’t come in contact with your salivary enzymes! Read that again please!
If you do not activate your own saliva in your mouth, the food you eat WILL NOT get digested properly. Read that again please!
If you want your next weight loss supplement or diet to really work, chew your food properly!
If you want your next super green shake supplement to give you all the promoted health benefits, chew your food properly!
Do you want to lose weight without changing your diet? Start chewing your food thoroughly, don’t change anything else. Do that for 6 months and tell me how much weight you lost! Because you most probably will.
From my personal experience, working with thousands of people having problem with controlling their weight, not a single person had proper eating habits. Not a single one of them chewed their food properly – and that is disastrous! We, as human beings have forgotten how to eat our food properly, and that is sad.
So, the first important benefit is “oh so” desired weight loss benefit of chewing food thoroughly. Really, if you are serious about losing weight, please start here, change this habit, starting TODAY!
2. You will eat less
This is still connected with weight management. I will point out weight loss benefits first because these are the most frequent questions I get.
Do you know it takes about 20 minutes for our brain to recognize that you have actually eaten food? If you eat really fast you can eat a ton of food in 20 min and then suddenly feel very very full, but the damage is already done, congratulations, you have just eaten way too much as you were supposed to.
Now, if you change the habit of how you chew your food. You will eat slower, that doesn’t mean you will chew slower, chew fast, just don’t eat like it is your last meal in your life, please…
Enjoy your food. Chew it thoroughly and take more time for your meal. You will ingest way less food, believe me! Because your brain will actually receive the right signals from your taste receptors, salivary glands and other mechanisms in your body.
Your own brain will produce chemicals that will signal your conscious mind that you have enough essential nutrition and you will suddenly feel FULL without your stomach wanting to explode!
This is the most important and effective natural way of controlling the amount of food you ingest. Change this habit and start observing your body, you will see the huge difference.
Suddenly you will notice less food cravings, sweets cravings, you will eat less food and you will give your body a chance to activate natural mechanisms to become aware of what you eat, and how much you eat – so that it can fire up natural mechanisms to manage weight.
3. Healthier digestion!
Chewing food properly will prevent bigger chunks of food entering your stomach. These chunks are hard to digest. They can get stuck in your stomach and bacteria will try and digest them there.
This can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, cramping, annoying feeling of being too full and other digestive problems.
I found this article posted on Forbes that confirms chewing food leads to healthier digestion!
4. Your health will improve!
Because you chewed thoroughly you prepared your food for much better digestion. You will increase the efficiency of absorption. You will get so much more vitamins, minerals, amino acids, protein, good fats and all other essential nutrients to your body.
Your body will be thankful. This may increase your general health, boost your immune system. After some time your body will recognize the change of habit, the change of your absorption efficiency and will signal you that you need less food to eat now.
Less is more, right? Here it sure is. You will eat less and absorb more nutrients. This is especially important for all the healthy diets and diet plans.
None of them work properly if you don’t chew your food thoroughly!
Not a single weight loss advice is complete if it doesn’t mention your chewing habits – I stand behind what I just said, from my experience working with so many people.
5. It is good for your teeth too!
Chewing is natural workout for your teeth and for the bones holding your teeth. It helps improve blood circulation in your gums and helps keep your teeth healthy. Also, the saliva produced in your mouth will help clear, or wash away bacteria, so expect less tooth decay and plaque buildup.
6. Enjoy your food more
Please, stop rushing your meals. There really shouldn’t be any excuse here! Job, family, busy lifestyle, boss, cat, dog, kids, mobile phones, stress, meeting, whatever…
Try sitting down, turning off the technology, being grateful for the food you have and take the time to really enjoy it! Notice the flavors in your mouth as you chew it.
Visualize that every little thing you eat is helping your body become healthier, stronger and it is exactly what your body needs.
You will signal your brain that what you are doing at that moment is very important.
And, let me ask you this…
How important do you personally think, eating your food is? Do you take this as something for granted? Something you should rush, just throw into your stomach as fast as possible and let your body just deal with it?
For me, everything I eat is sacred. For every little meal I have available, I am grateful and I take time to thank the universe for having it. I eat slowly enjoying every moment.
I wish to rise awareness of this little simple fact.
If you are trying to lose weight or improve your health, start chewing your food properly, simple as that!
It takes approximately 21 days of effort for this to become more automatic and natural to you.
And it should take about 3 months altogether of conscious awareness at every meal before it completely becomes automatic and you will never have to think about this in your life – because it will become a part of your lifestyle.
A healthy lifestyle change. Probably one of the MOST important lifestyle changes you can do for yourself.
No matter how weird or crazy it sounds.
Just try this. I give you my personal “90-day money back guarantee”. Try this for 90 days. If you don’t feel any of the benefits written in this article, you are free to go back to your old habits.
There was an interview done for University of Utah Health Sciences Radio, about chewing. I heartily support anyone that is aware of imporance of this topic.
If you find this article interesting or know someone who should read it too, please share and help me spread the word! Thank you so much.