Chances are good that you have suffered from—or are currently suffering from—digestive problems. While your current bought of stomach pain could be entirely due to holiday overeating, digestive problems are actually the most common condition reported to General Practitioners.
While there are a number of reasons why you could be suffering from digestive issues—including eating too many holiday cookies—research shows that there’s a link between poor digestion and many diseases. So it’s important that you target and treat the source of the issue when or as they arise.
Proper digestion is essential to good health and wellbeing, and the first step to proper digestion is chewing your food correctly. Now I know what you’re thinking, chewing your food correctly? Isn’t that something that we all born knowing how to do? Well the answer is no. Most of us either chew are food too fast or not enough before swallowing—which can lead to issues.
Digestion starts in your mouth, and how well you chew your food dictates how well it will be digested in your stomach. Ideally your food should be almost liquid when it reaches your stomach. If food hits your stomach and is barely chewed, your stomach—and both your large and small intestines—will have to work overtime to digest your food. Which can take its toll on your stomach, pancreas, liver and small intestine, and possibly lead to a wide array of problems.
How to Chew Properly
- Make sure that you have enough time. If you’re in a rush, you will eat fast. Which is not good for you. So slow down and take your time when eating.
- Cut your food into small easy to chew portions. It’s important to not put too much food into your mouth at once, as it makes it more difficult for you to chew your food thoroughly.
- Chew thoroughly. Although the exact number of chews vary with the texture of the food and the salivary glands of the person, the food should be a complete liquid and lose all texture.
- Swallow slowly. Do not gulp an entire mouthful of food down your throat at once. This can cause choking or damage to the esophagus.
- Wait until you are completely finished chewing before taking another bite.Give yourself enough time to let the food pass through your esophagus before putting more in your mouth. It is helpful to put your knife and fork down in between bites to avoid this.
Benefits of Proper Chewing
- It breaks up the food sufficiently to allow for quicker and more complete penetration of enzymes and digestive acids
- It helps trigger your brain that it’s getting full, causing you to eat less
- It sets up the correct sequence of events for proper mechanical and chemical (enzymatic) digestion
- It’s good for your teeth. The saliva produced while chewing clears food particles and washes away bacteria
- For more benefits, check out THIS ARTICLE
Food is meant to nourish you, not harm you—and how you are ingesting it is directly linked to which side of the healthy eating scale you fall on. So take time to sit down, relax and enjoy your meals in a peaceful environment where you can focus on your meal. Your body will thank you for it.
PS – Other factors that contribute to poor digestion are excessive consumption of simple carbohydrates and sugars, intolerances to common foods—like wheat and dairy—drinking too much fluid with your meals, and/or over-eating and inadequate fasting periods between meals. Ideally there should be 12-hours from your last meal of the day and breakfast the next day. If any of the items listed above sound like something that you do, you need to make a conscious effort to change your behaviour.