Good digestion is key to abundant health because we are only as healthy as our gut is healthy. God wants our mealtimes to be pleasurable experiences, so He created us with tastebuds to appreciate a nice range of flavors. Did you know that a human tongue contains over 9,000 tastebuds? Even more fascinating, these tastebuds are replaced within a span of just 21 days. This means that if there's a food we currently dislike, we can gradually introduce it into our diet for 21 consecutive days, and we are likely to develop a taste for that food (although texture preferences may not change as easily).
On the other hand, if we want to eliminate a particular food from our diet, our tastebuds can still adapt within three weeks! The exciting part is that the longer we adhere to a new eating pattern, the more our brain will form new habits and preferences, relying less on the previous neural pathways that were not beneficial to our well-being.
The way we chew our food directly influences our gut health, and in turn, the level of inflammation in our body. Proper chewing brings about several benefits, such as:
Improved digestion and nutrient absorption
Heightened appreciation of food and flavors
Diminished gas and bloating
Strengthened immune system
Support for Weight Management
When we chew our food thoroughly, it grinds and crushes the food into smaller particles. The smaller the food particles, the easier they are to digest, process, and assimilate into useful nutrients and energy by our bodies. In contrast, insufficient chewing allows larger food particles to pass through the digestive system, becoming a breeding ground for bacteria or leading to decay and can potentially give avenue for disease. Insufficient chewing may increase flatulence (gas), bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, cramping, inflammation, or bad breath.
As we chew, saliva is simultaneously excreted from salivary glands and mixed with the food. Saliva contains digestive enzymes that aid in breaking down carbohydrates, as well as preparing and lubricating the food for smooth passage through the esophagus into the stomach for further digestion. The longer we chew our food, the more time these enzymes have to initiate the process of food breakdown and digestion, making it easier for the stomach and intestines to work efficiently.
Be Chew-sy for weight loss! Interestingly, chewing well can also help control weight. By chewing your food twice as long, you may consume around 10% fewer calories because your brain is given enough time to signal when you've had enough to eat. It takes approximately 20 minutes for this signal to trigger, regardless of the number of calories or quantity of food consumed. However, repeated overeating can desensitize this signal. By adopting a mindful approach to chewing and eating more slowly, you can lower your risk of diabetes, obesity, and maintain a healthy body mass index and waist circumference.
Changing a chewing habit requires conscious effort, but it's never too late to start a healthy chewing habit at your next meal. Slow down, enjoy your food, savor every bite, learn to appreciate the true flavors, and reduce inflammation.
Here are some Tips to help you on your journey to Chewing Your Way to a New YOU!
Take smaller bites of food, as they are easier to chew.
Be conscious of what, when, and how much food you put in your mouth.
Chew slowly and steadily.
Lay down your utensil between each bite.
Finish chewing and swallowing completely before picking up your utensil for the next bite.
Avoid drinking with your meals, as it dilutes saliva and digestive acids.
Avoid eating between meals, as it disrupts the work of the digestive organs.
Eating foods as close to their natural state as possible typically will necessitate that you chew more. Consider a smoothie versus a salad, which will you chew more?
“In order to secure healthy digestion, food should be eaten slowly…The benefits derived from food does not depend so much on quantity eaten as on its thorough digestion.”
Embrace the opportunity to Start a New YOU!® by prioritizing your digestive health. For more health tips on improving digestion, explore our Start a New YOU!® Program.
You can do this! Start your journey towards a healthier, more vibrant you today.
 Eating Slower Tied to Lower Obesity Risk in Type 2 Diabetes. http://www.physiciansbriefing.com/Article.asp?AID=731038