How many of you work through lunch? Are you a multi-tasker who eats on the go? Do you tend to eat fast? How’s your digestive health? Did you know chewing your food has many health benefits?
That’s right. Chewing your food will improve your health, but not just chewing a handful of times and then swallowing. Being present while you chew is actually done with an intentionality. You can choose to pay attention to the movement of your mouth, smells, tastes, textures, or the number of times you chew. No matter what your focus is on, you want to chew your food until it is liquefied and has lost its texture.
Here are three benefits to being present while you chew.
- You Are Being Mindful
This simple act of chewing your food until it is liquefied or lost its texture, causes you to slow down your brain and focus on one thing instead of having too many thoughts at one time, a result of our high paced, super-stressed lifestyle.
According to the American Psychological Associate, “research on mindfulness has identified the following benefits: reduced rumination, stress reduction, boosts to working memory, focus, less emotional reactivity, more cognitive flexibility, and more.”
- Improved Digestion
Your saliva contains digestive enzymes, which start to break down your food while you’re chewing. The more you chew, the easier it is for your stomach to break down the food. This will also cause you to get more out of your food, because nutrients are more easily absorbed when in liquid form. When your digestive system is working the way it should, you may experience decreased symptoms of gas, bloating, and heartburn.
- More Energy
When your food is being chewed for longer periods of time and the food is being absorbed properly in the small intestine, your body doesn’t have to put forth as much effort. When your body has to work less to digest your food, it takes up less energy. Your body will also function at a higher level, because it has more of the nutrients it needs. Now of course you can’t be eating highly processed foods and think by chewing it 100 times, you will feel better. But it does mean you won’t be wasting your delicious green salad by not chewing it enough!