So my aunt takes forever to eat and besides that, she’s the healthiest member of my family. I know that “Chew your food!” is written on every wall but I noticed it works by seriously stalking my family members. She chews forever… My grandparents are at the other end of the spectrum, they eat like they haven’t eaten in years, swallowing big chunks of unchewed food, the more the better! They also only eat produce from their farm, baking their own bread and all that, while my aunt has a normal supermarket diet, plus the occasional dinners at a restaurant. (On a side note I did compare their health/fitness levels at a similar age, not comparing a 30yo with a 70yo). This made me think about her little secret hiding in plain sight: Chewing.
While chewing is a semi-automatic reflex, don’t despair, you can improve it! Being conscious about eating and chewing is not only good for improving your chewing performance but also helps you enjoy food more. The first few bites are the tastiest no matter what fast-food chains are selling you, so you should enjoy them to the max!
Enjoying food and implementing a healthy habit for weight control, not enough? Here’s what else happens when you chew your food properly:
Drooling is a good thing
You might have noticed that eating certain foods increases saliva production. There was a time when chewing gum was considered helpful in oral health, but now we know it’s bad for the stomach. Saliva contains digestive enzymes which will make digestion easier on the stomach and small intestine. It also flushes out bacteria so there are fewer cavities and less plaque buildup If other health issues didn’t concern you just think that chewing a lot could spare you a trip to the dentist!
Digestion and nutrient absorption
The smaller the particles the better the nutrients will be absorbed and lessen the stress on your stomach. Indigestion is a very common thing nowadays, especially during holidays. It should be caused by what you eat but instead, it’s caused by how much you’re eating. Holidays are kinda like food festivals with free food. You see everything on the table and it’s like a competition of who can eat the most or try everything. If you’d take time to chew everything properly you’d feel full before you’d actually be too full and put unnecessary stress on your body. Read more about how to survive holidays.
You want to get the best out of your food and chewing will definitely help you with that!
Healthy Bacteria-Fungi Balance in your gut
A lot of people face themselves with candida overgrowth and don’t understand why they feel off most of the time. Because of this, there is a super hype diet called The Candida Diet which is basically removing all the candida-friendly foods. Except for Candida, there are other fungi and bacteria who strive on unchewed food. If you don’t chew your food properly, your stomach won’t be able to do all the work and so chunks of undigested food end up in your colon and make it the perfect place for the fungi and no-so-good-in-huge-colonies bacteria to live long and prosper.
It takes the brain about 15-20 minutes to get the signal that we have had enough food. You should always be a step ahead and give those signals time to get from the stomach and the small intestine to your brain. People who chew more, eat less, and by less I mean 10% less than normal chewers. It’s a great way to do portion control.
How much should you chew?
The number I heard the most is 32 times. While you could chew a piece of beef for 100 times you would be crazy to do the same with cooked veggies for example. So the rule to follow is: Chew the food until liquid. Then feel free to swallow!
Who’s the Chew-bacca in your circle? Let me know in a comment below: