Why Chewing Matters

Today at lunch I was feeling stressed out. I started to attack my chicken salad, trying to gulp it down as fast as possible, as usual. Then I paused. Why was I rushing it? What was the hurry? I decided to eat the food mindfully, and chew properly.

Most people don’t eat slowly enough, especially during lunch and breakfast when they’re in a hurry. This means that they don’t chew their food very well, either.

What are some of the benefits of chewing your food well?

  1. Improved digestion. Since you’ve already started the digestive process in your mouth, your gut will have less work to do.  Digestive fluids only work on the outside of the food, so they have difficulty breaking down large particles. Some studies have linked obesity to swallowing greater particles of food.
  2. You’ll get more bang for your buck nutrient wise. When the food is properly broken down, more of the nutrients contained get used by your body.
  3. Enjoying your food more. Just try it. You’ll notice all kinds of taste sensations you never have time for if you just gulp everything down.
  4. You’re likely to eat less. A study compared healthy volunteers, one group of which chewed their pizza 15 times, the other 40 times. The group that chewed more needed much less pizza to feel satiated. This might be due to hormones, which are released in a complicated process triggered by the chewing and saliva. The same group found that chewing nuts properly helped the fat in nuts be digested better, which might be part of the reason for not needing to eat as much to feel as full. Another hypothesized reason was the fact that the participants hated chewing for so long, so they decided to stop eating sooner.
  5. Chewing properly can even have beneficial effects for your brain. When you chew, the increased motion in your jaws increases blood flow to your brain. Chewing gum has been found to improve your concentration on tests and make you feel more relaxed. Isn’t it terrible? All these years school teachers have been asking the kids to spit out their gums in class even though chewing gum might actually have improved their test results!

It might be the placebo effect but I felt sort of more peaceful after taking the time to eat and chew properly. It wasn’t easy, though. In spite of the fact that I wasn’t in a rush to go anywhere, I kept eyeing the clock, thinking “gosh, this is taking ages.” I’ll do it again the next meal, though. It’ll be interesting to see if the simple act of chewing more can affect my eating habits.

Sources:

http://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2012/apr/chewing

http://slism.com/diet/chew-more-eat-less-4-benefits-of-chewing-your-food-that-nobody-told-you-about.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/van-winkles/chew-on-this-the-case-for_b_7737154.html

http://anh-europe.org/2013/06/12/the-simplest-way-to-digestive-bliss-chew-your-food-properly/

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11 thoughts on “Why Chewing Matters

  1. We need to learn to slow down in general. We are all of the mind that we must be in a rush, even when there is nothing we need to do next. This mindset is killing us in more ways than one.

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    1. I agree. It’s amazing how hard just sitting down and not doing or watching or listening to anything can be. We’re just not used to that.

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    1. Good point. That actually explains my husband, too. He’s usually finished by the time I’m about 1/3 of the way through my portion, even though I’m not a slow eater. 😀

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      1. We don’t chew, we shuffle and swallow!
        I still have issues with eating slow, but it’s gotten a bit better. And we hate those who eat seriously slow and when there isn’t enough food!

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      2. When you have a 30 minute break to eat and you spend 10 minutes in line, you have max 10 minutes to eat and 10 minutes to get where you are going because you don’t wanna be late! So the habit is hard to break for sure.

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  2. This is interesting. I have one daughter who takes FOREVER to eat her food, and one that gulps. The one that gulps coughs alot and get her food stuck in her throat a lot. The other loves to read while she eats, so it takes forever and she is always running late for stuff but yet feels so stressed if she is rushed to eat. My mother in law is an extremely obese lady and she also takes forever to savor every last bite. I will pay more attention to eating habits now after reading this. Thanks.

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    1. I’ve always loved to eat while reading, too. Or watch telly. I feel like I somehow get more enjoyment from both activities if I do them simultaneously. Funny that.

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  3. I used to swallow my food in whole without chewing it, when i was very little. I was always puking, and had severe digestion problems. My poor digestion is all because I didn’t chew my food properly. It seems a silly thing to stress upon, but chewing food properly is extremely important. A simple thing such as chewing properly avoids development of severe digestion problems such as obesity and diabetes. Thanks for the great info, Laura!

    Liked by 1 person

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