Although chewing is often overlooked, it is a vital part of healthy digestion. Many people place food in their mouth and then chew it a few times before swallowing it. In reality, chewing doesn’t really take a lot of effort and time and what you get in return is also worth it. You get to enjoy the taste of your food and also boost your health.
So how thoroughly should you chew?
While health professionals advocate a certain number of times for chewing food, the general rule is to make sure that the food is small and dissolved enough to be easily swallowed.
Chewing mechanically breaks down the large food molecules into tiny particles. This reduces stress on the esophagus. It also helps the stomach to metabolize the food. While chewing, a lot of saliva that contains digestive enzymes is released. As these enzymes get to your stomach, the digestive process improves.
Digestion is an energy consuming process, and that’s why it’s very important for you to assist your body by playing your part. Note that older adults and children must avoid processed food because they’ll need little or no chewing.
Digestion starts with chewing. Each time you are eating your food, you are mechanically breaking it down into smaller particles. The saliva you secrete while chewing coats the food with the lipase and amylase enzymes. These enzymes start to digest starch and fats right in the mouth.
Gives the digestive tract signals
Chewing informs the body that the digestion process needs to start. It signals the stomach to make stomach acid and the pancreas to secrete its contents into your small intestinal tract.
Ensures proper digestion
Stomach acid and digestive enzymes only work on the food fragment surfaces. When you chew your food completely, a larger surface area is provided for the digestive enzymes and stomach acid for digestion. Think about it in this way; suppose you swallow on a large glob of food, the digestive enzymes will only manage to access the outer portion. But if you chew the food until its liquated, the enzymes and stomach acid will coat it easily and do their job effectively.
Growth and repair of the body is promoted
The food we take is very complex as it contains different types of molecules like proteins, vitamins, carbs, minerals, etc. Proteins, for example, are broken down into amino acids, and the amino acids are the main building blocks used in growth and repair. The body can’t produce or store amino acids so if you don’t chew your food well, you automatically create a barrier to the breakdown of proteins. There will be no amino acids for the growth and repair of the body.
To chew your food well, you’ll need to concentrate on the meal while eating. Avoid eating while on the run or when watching your favorite television program. Swallow the tiniest pieces and if you happen to feel some parts of the food in the mouth, know that you haven’t chewed it well enough.