Did you know that digestion begins in the mouth?
As you chew your food, digestive enzymes in your saliva start to break it down, preparing it for absorption and making it easier on your stomach and small intestine. (Not chewing enough can cause bloating and gas because undigested food particles make their way into your intestines, where they ferment and off-gas.)
Because chewing is the first part of digestion, it’s important to chew your food thoroughly to absorb all of the vitamins and minerals it contains. In addition to improved nutrient absorption, good digestion decreases bloating, gas, and upset stomachs; promotes regular and healthy elimination; increases energy; and helps regulate blood sugar.
HOW TO CHEW PROPERLY
Do you remember being taught how to chew properly? Probably not!
Even though it’s a seemingly simple and intuitive task, many of us are not quite doing it right. Here’s how to chew for optimum digestive health:
- Chew each mouthful 30-50 times until the food becomes liquid
A few tips: Put your utensils down between bites to help you slow down. Count your chews at first to make sure you’re getting enough; eventually, you’ll be able to do that naturally without counting. Try taking smaller bites.
While this may seem silly or excessive… Our digestive systems evolved on a diet of fibrous foods that required much more chewing than today’s processed food necessitates. But especially when eating real, whole foods, it’s best to chew them thoroughly before sending them on to the rest of the digestive system. This aids digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall health.