When it comes to increased health, it's not only what we eat but how we eat it. Digestion actually begins in the mouth, where contact with our teeth and digestive enzymes in our saliva break down food. I often find that when I am eating a meal and multi-tasking, I barely remember what I am consuming. There are times that I forget the simple act of chewing ~ in which case I practically swallow my food whole and then wonder why I feel bloated, sick and unsatisfied. On average we chew each bite only eight times. It's no wonder that many people have digestive problems. Clearly this is a problem for many people as there are some excellent digestive enzymes on the market that will aid in the process of breaking down and absorbing your food should you be in a rush or are eating something that your body may not be used to. In addition, you can re-learn to chew your food ~ eating will be a whole new experience!
Here are a few reasons to slow down, take a breath and chew your food:
1. Saliva breaks down food into simple sugars, which create a sweet taste. So, the more we chew, the sweeter the food becomes, causing less cravings for those after-meal sweets!
2. Chewing your food reduces digestive distress and allows our bodies to absorb maximum nutrition from each bite.
3. Chewing can promote increased circulation, energy and insurance, as well as enhance immunity, improve skin and stabilize weight.
4. Chewing promotes more endorphins: the chemicals responsible for your well-being and happiness.
5. By taking time with your meal, you are allowing for an overall pleasant and satisfying experience with smells, flavors and textures that you may otherwise not receive.
6. Slowing down and chewing our meals allow us to give thanks, show appreciation, and develop patience and self-control.
During your next meal, see if you can experience these benefits of chewing by increasing 30 chews per bite. Try eating without the television on, cell phone nearby or even any reading material around. Sit quietly and just pay attention to the actual food and how you are breathing and chewing ~ and give thanks. It may feel super odd at first, since we are used to a constant flow of news, talk, media, email, advertisements and demands from others. But as you create a new habit, you will begin to appreciate eating without rushing...and your body with thank you. You have to eat every day, why not learn to truly enjoy it!?