Chewing is a vital, underestimated, starting block to your digestion. There have been cases of people healing themselves from their digestive conditions by using this one simple principle.
Your digestion starts with the smell and taste of your food. This sends messages to your digestive systems and telling it what enzymes will be needed to digest your meal. The very action of your jaw while chewing stimulates your digestive tract to secrete digestive juices and be ready to receive your meal. You also stimulate your immune system to increase the number of white blood cells so that you are prepared to combat any potential pathogens in your meal.
As you chew, your food mixes with saliva and gets exposed to the enzymes in your saliva. The enzymes in your saliva are particularly targeted to breaking down carbohydrates. By chewing properly you can literally pre-digest carbohydrates, lessening the load on your digestive tract.
Chewing breaks your food down into smaller pieces, converting your food into a liquid form instead of lumps or chunks. This increases the surface area of your food, making it easier to mix with the digestive enzymes in your gut thereby improving digestion and absorption.
Eating your food too fast results in a speedy transfer of a large amount of improperly broken down, improperly masticated food into the gut. This increases the time food needs to spend in the gut to be digested, allowing more time to putrefy and promoting constipation. This is because the longer food is kept in the gut the more water is absorbed and the harder it is too pass the stool. Under these circumstances it could take up to 48 hours or more for your food to pass through your digestive system as opposed to the normal 18 – 24 hours.
In addition to the above, partially digested food remains can be linked to inflammation in the gut which may lead to a leaky or permeable gut membrane and food sensitivities. Partially digested foods, particularly carbohydrates, can feed the wrong type of bacteria creating an imbalance of the gut flora.
With this in mind, how do you know if you have chewed enough? You have chewed enough when you tongue no longer feels solid particles in between your food. The amount of time needed to achieve this differs depending of the type of food eaten. Take time to sit down and enjoy your meal! If you do not have the time rather eat smaller meals, a vegetable juice or a smoothie instead of trying to gulp your meal down.
There is one added bonus to becoming a slow eater; eating slowly gives your body the time needed to register that it is full, thereby preventing overeating and the needless overburdening of your digestive tract. For this reason people on a weight loss programme are encouraged to eat slowly.
Now you have the perfect reason to take time out to smell, taste, savour, and chew and relish your food.