When it comes to increased health, it’s not just what we eat but how we eat. Digestion actually begins in the mouth, where contact with our teeth and the digestive enzymes in our saliva break down food. In these modern times, many people rush through the whole eating experience, barely acknowledging what’s going in their mouth. Eating while distracted—working, reading, on iPhones and watching television—has become commonplace. On average, food is chewed only a few times; conceivably leading to the many digestive problems people are facing.
Here are a few important reasons to slow down and chew your food well.
- Chewing reduces digestive distress and improves assimilation, allowing our bodies to absorb maximum nutrition from each bite of food.
- Eating at a slower pace can reduce caloric intake by giving your stomach time to sense the amount of food consumed and your mind time to experience the feeling of satiety.
- Chewing can prevent heartburn, bloating, indigestion and can increase energy.
- Taking time with a meal, beginning with chewing, allows for enjoyment of the whole experience of eating: the smells, flavors and textures. As an Ayurvedic doctor once said to me, we must “honor our food.”