Do I chew my food enough?
You may have read in diet books or heard it from fitness professionals that chewing your food can help with weight loss; here I will talk about how and why you will know if you are chewing your food enough.
First here are some reasons why we should chew
Chewing is good for your teeth – when we talk about giving our body a workout and how that is good for us, well chewing your food gives the bones holding your teeth a workout. This workout (chewing) helps keep the bones strong, while saliva is also produced; this helps clear food from your mouth and washes away bacteria, therefore helping with plaque build-up and tooth decay. These are all good things for your teeth.
Enjoy Your Food – When we rush through chewing our meals, you’re not really tasting or enjoying your food. If we slow down when we chew you can really savour and enjoy flavours your food has.
Fewer Bacteria In your Intestines – When large particles from chewing fast enter your stomach, it may remain undigested when it enters your intestines. Here, bacteria begin to break it down which will potentially lead to gas and bloating, abdominal pain, cramping and diarrhoea.
Release more nutrients from your food – When we chew, we break down large particles to smaller particles which help with digestion. This will make it easier for your intestines to absorb nutrients as they pass through. So basically, the more we chew, the less is lost and more is retained in the body.
Expose your food to saliva – The longer we chew, the more saliva is exposed to your food, saliva contains digestive enzymes, which help to break down your food, which in return makes digestion easier for your stomach and small intestine. Saliva also helps to lubricate your food which makes it easier on your esophagus to pass the food through.
How can chewing our food help with weight loss?
Let’s have a look at some of the points we have already covered. If we take all these into account, they point us to the fact that if we take our time to chew and enjoy our food, we are giving our brain enough time to tell us we are full, therefore we will probably eat less at that meal than we usually would.
One thing I hear a lot is vegetables don’t taste of anything, but if we took our time and chewed our vegetables, we would allow the release of the flavours from the vegetables to hit our tongue and therefore really get to enjoy this really great food! Why is this important? Well, if we have a quick talk about the tongue, the very tip is sweet, so when you put something into your mouth that is not sweet and you chew fast, it will presume to be tasteless – for example vegetables. But if we chew longer, we let our tongue discover the other tastes like bitter, salt and sour, and therefore enjoying our food more. This very point is why things that are sugary, we crave the most, because we have developed such as taste for these types of foods.
A challenge that I have done in the past is to totally cut out sugary foods and eat more vegetables. Doing this for 2 weeks will allow for your cravings for sugary foods to go, you will then be able to make the right choices when picking your foods, which in return will help you lose weight.
Here are some tips on how to chew your food properly:
– Take smaller bites of food to begin with
– Chew slowly and steadily
– Chew until your mouthful of food is liquefied
– Finish chewing and swallowing completely before taking another bite of food
Here’s a final tip – there may be a food that you have previously tried that you thought you didn’t like. Next time you have this food, try to really chew. It will release more flavours, therefore helping you to enjoy it and actually become a food you do like. Just a thought and one thing I would certainly try! I for one never had fish, but now I enjoy salmon as one of my favourite foods just because I took a little more time to chew when trying it.