Chewing your food is the first step in a very long and complex process that our body goes through to digest our food. If our digestion isn’t working properly, we cannot obtain the nutrients and energy from the food we eat to live healthy and happy lives.
I think its fair to say that we are always in a rush, because there are just SO many things to do right? Eating on the run or quickly shoving some food in at meals times is really common. Some people even see eating as an inconvenient due to the time it take. This results in not chewing our food properly.
‘So what’ you might ask. Well, if you aren’t chewing your food properly, you aren’t digesting it properly. This step is SO important for digestion. Think about it – it’s the very first step in a long line of things that need to occur for us to digest our food properly so we can utilise the nutrients within it! What’s the point of eating that beautiful grass fed steak or avocado and salmon salad if your body can’t get all the nutrients from within in?
Chewing is the only major mechanical process in digestion, the rest is chemical which means its really the only step we have total control over!
Here’s the three main things that happen when we chew properly.
- We use our teeth and tongue to break the food into small particles (which increasing the surface area) so that our digestive juices can work quickly and effectively. If big chunks of food make it to our stomach, the rest of the digestive process has to work a lot harder and sometimes food doesn’t get completely digested.
- Salivia is released in the mouth and this starts the break down of carbs and more importantly, this along with the physical act of chewing, triggers processed further down the digestive tract. So when we don’t spend time chewing, the whole digestive process is affected.
- When we spend time chewing properly, we become mindful of what we are eating. This is a beautiful habit to get into. Not only can you spend a few moments giving thanks to the food for nourishing you, but by slowing down and spending the correct amount of time enjoying your meal, you are more likely to be in ‘rest and digest’ mode. This is very important! If you are stressed or rushing, your nervous system will read this as a sign that it needs to be in ‘fight or flight’ mode rather than ‘rest and digest’. If you are in fight and flight, your digestions is slowed or even stopped! Have you ever been nervous and needed to rush to the toilet? That’s because you went into fight and flight and your digestion was shut down.
Please make the simple art of chewing a daily practice. The more you chew, the less bloating and flatulence you will have AND you’ll have extra energy as your body will be able to actually access all those nutrients in your food.
So simple yet so profound.