October 21, 2014
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Weight Management

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4 reasons you should chew more

When you were a kid, your may have been told to chew with your mouth closed. Or you were reminded to chew your food well so you didn't choke. Now that you're an adult, you probably have the whole chewing thing figured out, don't you? Actually, you may not be chewing enough. Chewing your food fully has benefits beyond good manners or a smart safety precaution.

When you chew food fully, you may also:

  • feel fuller and more satisfied: Add more chewing when you eat, and you add more time. Add more time, and you subtract more appetite. That's because chewing your food fully allows time for your body to kick-start appetite-inhibiting hormones. Eating too quickly doesn't allow your body time to interpret the hormones that signal fullness. When this happens, you may not only eat more calories than you really need, you may actually feel less full than you would have if you had slowed down and chewed your food fully.

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  • get more nutrients out of the foods you eat: The nutrients you need don't magically find their way into your body when you swallow. If food is not chewed properly, it may also end up only partially digested. Without breaking down, all of the food's nutrients will not be available to your body. But with a good and proper grind-and-gnash, foods release their nutrients and you digest them instead of just "passing them along."

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  • avoid digestive upset: Chewing is the first step in digestion. Your teeth, tongue, and saliva all work together to begin the moistening, breaking down, and digestion of food. If you eat quickly without ample chew time, you gulp air and swallow food that is not broken down into small enough pieces for proper (and easier) digestion. All of this can trigger indigestion, bloating, gas, and bacteria-gathering feces that linger in your colon.

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  • relax and enjoy your food more: Chewing is not a luxury, but it certainly can make a meal more pleasurable. Spoon smaller bites into your mouth and let the flavours settle. Put your fork down between bites. Take your time and allow the tastes to play across your palate, the aroma of foods to reach your nose, for the textures to tickle your tongue. And no need to count your chews - that's no fun. Just be mindful of how much food you have in your mouth. Don't shovel in another bite until you have finished chewing the current mouthful.

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