Sometimes the day is so full of obligations and appointments that we only have a bit of time for eating. To make matters worse, the time we take for meals on a busy day is often interrupted. It's difficult to even think about what we're eating. Here's a simple enough thing to do to encourage good health while you eat: chew your food well!
You likely don't think much about how you chew, but it can truly impact your health
It's part of our everyday lives, and we all generally do it many times daily without giving it much thought: the topic for today is how we chew what we eat. Specifically, we want to cover a necessary process that is specifically intended to break down the food in our mouths into smaller pieces so that everything can be digested properly further on in the stomach, small intestine and large intestine.So far, so good – the importance of this is already well-known to many. Nonetheless, in general it seems that the majority of people are not chewing their food enough; more specifically, they are not spending enough time chewing before swallowing. This of course leads to bigger pieces of food ending up in the stomach. There's even a familiar saying about this effect when eating some kinds of foods: feeling like you've eaten a brick. The digestive organs are simply not at their best when they have to process a meal that has been insufficiently chewed. Much more energy has to be utilised in the form of greater enzyme production in order to break down big chunks of food and make use of the nutrients contained.
Not chewing well leads to problems for your stomach and intestinal tract
Without enough chewing, the digestive process simply takes much longer, and all too often physical complaints are the result. Some of the most difficult foods to digest are from animal sources. When we eat such foods much more time is required for digestion, which makes it more like that partially digested meats or dairy products can actually start to decay. This brings the lower digestive system out of balance. Naturally when you combine eating a lot of heavy foods with insufficient chewing, weight gain is a common outcome. When the digestive system is not working well for these reasons, it's possible that we end up lacking in some important minerals or other nutrients simply because they cannot be absorbed properly. This can occur even if we're eating a balanced diet that contains all of the good things our bodies need.
Simple solution: eat less, chew more
Given the above information, it's clear that there can naturally be negative consequences if one neglects taking time for meals. The solution for this set of problems is actually much simpler than one might at first assume. The first part of the solution is clear to all: taking care in choosing what you eat is of vital importance. Equally important though is actually how we take the food into our bodies. We can make a big contribution to our own good health simply by properly chewing whatever we're eating. A general rule of thumb: chew every bite about 40 times before swallowing. If you're eating something that’s more difficult to digest, that number goes all the way up to 70. The longer we chew our food, the more saliva we produce. This further prepares the food for digestion in the stomach and intestines, making the digestive process easier. One reason for this is that fewer enzymes are required to break down the food, which in turns lessens the strain on the digestive organs.
When we do a better job of chewing what we eat, we gain an additional advantage: we're more satisfied by our food, which cuts down on the tendency to regularly overeat. When there is less food in the digestive system it can be more easily and quickly digested, and that has positive effects on our overall health. We feel more fresh and full of energy without that full feeling. You'll be surprised by just how much making these changes will improve your life – you can be at your best every day. Remember to pay attention to your food when you eat, and think about how important proper chewing is for your body. Relax and enjoy your meals and start taking more time for feeling good this week!
Source: Dr. Hiromi Shinya, Lang leben ohne Krankheit: Diät- und Gesundheitstipps vom Entdecker des Enzymfaktors, Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag, 2008 (German language only, title translation: Long Life Without Disease: Diet and Health Tips from the Discoverer of the Enzyme Factor)
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