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It sounds too good to be true, right? Better health and digestion by simply…chewing food?
It may seem obvious, but this is one of the cheapest, easiest, biggest bang-for-your-buck health hacks out there! (And, with Thanksgiving only a couple days away, it’s also timely!)
There are two types of chewing in the world: careless and careful. Most of us probably fall somewhere in between. Take a moment to reflect…which type of chewer are YOU on a regular basis?
Your new goal: Become a careful chewer ASAP!
How does carefully chewing food lead to better digestion?
First, you need to understand the digestion process. There are the four stages:
- Ingestion = This first step begins when you take a bite of food or sip of liquid.
- Digestion = The body breaks down the food into nutrients.
- Absorption = Then, it absorbs the nutrients.
- Elimination = Finally, it eliminates any waste.
Think about this from a logical perspective: If stellar ingestion is the first step towards a high-functioning digestive process, then terrible ingestion will lead to subpar digestion, absorption, and elimination. You can’t start the process poorly and expect a positive outcome. Nothing in life works that way!
In the same vein, you can’t get nutrients from nutrient-poor foods (e.g., those that are highly processed and/or filled with cheap vegetable oils, refined sugar, refined carbohydrates, and preservatives)—even if you chew them extremely well! If your great great great grandmother could recognize an item, there’s a higher likelihood that it’s nutrient-dense!
What does digestion have to do with overall health?
Alongside body temperature, pulse rate, and respiration, some cutting-edge doctors now consider healthy digestion to be a key vital sign of one’s health; it’s that important. In his article “Is Your Digestive System Making You Sick, and Fat?” Dr. Mark Hyman writes:
Most of us (including most doctors) do not recognize or know that digestive problems wreak havoc in the entire body, leading to allergies, arthritis, autoimmune disease, rashes, acne, chronic fatigue, mood disorders, autism, dementia, cancer, and more.
So having a healthy gut means more than simply being free of annoyances like bloating or heartburn! It is absolutely central to your health. It is connected to EVERYTHING that happens in your body. That’s why I almost always start helping people treat chronic health problems by fixing their gut . . .
To thrive, we must ingest and absorb essential nutrients since our bodies don’t synthesize these nutrients on their own. Some examples of essential nutrients are fat; water; Vitamins A, D, K, and C; and minerals like iron, calcium, and magnesium.
If you’re eating a diet rich in high-quality protein and organic produce, you’re on the right track! You can get all of the essential nutrients you need through the healthiest diet…that is, as long as you’re carefully and thoroughly chewing those meats and veggies!
If you aren’t properly chewing food, your salivary glands will not produce the necessary digestive enzymes to jump start the entire digestion process. Thus, your body won’t be able to digest or absorb the nutrients it needs. If you’re not digesting properly, you may have symptoms of a vitamin or mineral deficiency, which include:
- Dry skin
- Poor immunity
- Muscle fatigue or cramping
- …and more!
You’re also essentially wasting your money buying high-quality groceries because your body isn’t reaping the benefits of those purchases. Without proper digestion, alllllll of that money you spent at Whole Foods and the farmer’s market last week = dollars down the drain!
3 Easy Tips For Carefully Chewing Food
We all know how to chew food, but we don’t necessarily do it well. This is where the spectrum of careless to careful chewers comes in. (I totally made those terms up, by the way. Alliterative and catchy, right?!) In your earlier reflection on your chewing habits, did you identify yourself as more of a the careless or careful variety?
In all honesty, I’m often a careless chewer, especially when presented with something delectable like a juicy steak. I want to inhale it as quickly as possible!
Remember: Our goal is to become careful chewers ASAP! Here are some tips…
CAREFUL-CHEWER TIP #1: Put your fork, knife, and/or spoon down between bites; don’t pick them up again until you’ve swallowed.
This is a trick my grandma taught me. When you do this, you’ll not only focus on chewing the current bite before preparing the next one, but you’ll also be soooo prim and proper! (I think that was my grandma’s goal?)
It seems very logical and almost too easy, right? Trust me. It’s a GAME. CHANGER.
CAREFUL-CHEWER TIP #2: Savor the flavor and texture of each bite.
Food is delicious and you probably spend a good chunk of your income on it…so enjoy!
CAREFUL-CHEWER TIP #3: Chew so well that you create a food smoothie before you swallow.
Did that gross you out? Sorry! When you thoroughly break down any food during the ingestion step, you set yourself up for success throughout the digestion, absorption, and elimination steps. Woohoo!
Truly, becoming a careful chewer is not rocket science. It simply involves mindfulness and patience, two skills that many of us (including myself!) lack in this age of social media and FREE two-day shipping! Some health gains require more complicated efforts, but I just love the simple fixes like these that produce stellar results.
Carefully chewing food will likely lead you to better overall digestion, improved health, worthwhile high-quality grocery purchases, and more appreciation for your food. It’s a win-win-win-win! But wait…there’s more! Bonus: You’ll likely slow your eating pace, so you’ll also be able to recognize signs that your body is nearly full. Your goal should always be to eat until you’re 80% full, and carefully chewing food can certainly help with this!
Bottom line: If you’re not chewing food slowly and mindfully, you’re jeopardizing your overall health and digestion.
⇒ To optimize every aspect of your health, visit My Favorite Things! There, you’ll find links to healthy packaged foods, toxin-free products, and overall wellness boosters.
⇒ Then, to further your Health Investment even more, dive into these:
- “Eating Enough Of This? Your Brain Health Depends On It…”
- “Hidden Sugar: You’re Probably Eating More Than You Think!”
- “Canola Oil vs Vegetable Oil: Which Is Healthiest?”