Chewing your food, and I mean REALLY chewing your food, is a cornerstone of good health.
In fact, Walt Whitman once advised, "Drink your solids and chew your liquids."
And let's face it, he was a smart, smart man.
MM: All About Chewing
Benefits of Chewing
According to Dr. Mercola, there are many amazing benefits of chewing, including:
- Better nutrient absorption, food particles are easier digested and the nutrients can be absorbed better in the intestines
- Can help you slow down your meals, and avoid bypassing the full signal
- Enables better pre-digestion via saliva in your mouth (chewing well increases saliva, which contains digestive enzymes).
- Creates overall easier digestion: chewing well helps to break down and partially liquify food, making the whole process of digestion a much less demanding task.
- Great for your teeth: saliva produced by chewing well, helps clean your teeth
- Helps reduce indigestion, which is often caused by large food particles than cannot be processed, which then sit in your intestines and cause problems.
- Adds enjoyment - slowing down allows for more time to savor your meal.
There is a lot of information about chewing out there, and here are a few more awesome points.
- The mechanical process of digestion begins with chewing
- AND, the chemical process of digestion begins with chewing (saliva contains necessary enzymes).
- Chewing relaxes the lower stomach muscle, creating an easier digestive process
- Chewing triggers the rest of the digestive process (in fact, chewing sends signals to the entire gastrointestinal system).
How many times do you chew per mouthful? I bet on average, most people don't chew more than 10 times per bite of food.
Are you up for a challenge?
Jessica Porter, one of my favourite authors, is hosting the 2014 CHEW-A-THON, beginning today, and lasting for 7 days! The goal is to chew every bite 50x for 7 days.
50 x per mouthful. 7 days.
If this seems pretty dang crazy, and you don't have the jaw muscles, or the time, try simply increasing your chewing a bit.
Take a few days and notice how many times your chew per mouthful. If you chew 10x, try for at least 15x per mouthful. Most Macrobiotic books recommend working up to at least 30 x per mouthful.
The second article above, mentions chewing until the food you are eating is no longer obviously identifiable via texture before you swallow...they give the example of chewing broccoli until you can no longer feel stems. This seems like it should be obvious. But I guess it isn't.
I was not born with the innate understanding of how important chewing is, unlike my guy T, so it is something I have to think about. If I don't think about it, I don't do it well enough. I have to pay attention to not eat too quickly. And if I'm distracted, and wolf my food down, I get a sad belly.
So, I'm going pay a bit more attention this week and we'll see what happens!
Let me know if you try too <3
And besides, if chewing gum can help warm up your brain and increase test scores, certainly chewing wholesome food can't hurt. :)
Have a great week friends.