It sounds ridiculous to suggest, but most people need a refresher and reminder to chew their food. Chewing is foundational to health and its benefits are underestimated. Go to any restaurant and watch someone at the next table or anyone across from you at your own dinner table and count the chews. Most likely, it is about 5-10 chews, maximum! This puts tremendous pressure on the digestive system, stomach and intestines to break down food. Are you tired after meals? This could be one reason why.
How to chew properly:
- Start counting the chews in each bite.
- Aim for 30, until your food becomes liquid.
- Put your fork down between bites.
- Concentrate or be mindful of what you are actually doing.
- If under pressure at meals, take deep breaths & let the simple act of chewing relax you.
Benefits of chewing (or … what gets better when I chew)
- Greater energy.
- Slows eating and enables you to gauge fullness.
- Less overeating.
- Enables saliva to start to sufficiently break down food.
- Leads to smoother digestion and greater absorption of vitamins & minerals.
- Need less liquid to help food travel.
- With less liquid, there is greater availability of digestive enzymes.
- Less constipation.
- May reduce or eliminate reflux/indigestion.
- Enables you to enjoy all spectrums of tastes and smells that make up a meal.
The best example of the impact of chewing was published in a book called The Power Eating Program by Lino Stanchich. The author’s father was in a concentration camp. Obviously, food was sparse. He shared with those in his area that when he chewed his food upwards of 100x, including the water, he had more energy. It seemed preposterous to most of them. Two of his friends decided to follow his advice and in the end, the three of them were the only ones of the 33 who survived.
Having a second job in restaurants for a decade in New York City, I was guilty of being a fast eater. I had to re-train myself, and you can too! Digesting food is one of the most energy draining activities the body must perform daily. Please help yourself by chewing well! It can significantly and positively impact your body’s ability to function well. Try it for 30 days and tell me what happens…
Contributed by PWC’s Integrative Dietitian Nutritionist Jena Savadsky Griffith. If you are interested in a nutrition consultation, Jena may be reached at 540-431-2397 or firstname.lastname@example.org.