More than likely, you hear your mother tells you a thousand times, “Chew up your food!” While you may have thought your mom was just getting on your case, there’s actually some great wisdom you can glean from this admonition.
You may be surprised to find out how important chewing your food really is. In fact, if you start chewing your food, it could actually change your life! Here are just a few reasons you should start paying more attention to this commandment from your mother.
Reason #1 – It can Maintain a Healthy Weight
The longer you chew, the more time it will take you to finish a meal, and research shows that eating slowly can help you to eat less and, ultimately, to avoid weight gain or even lose weight.
For example, chewing your food twice as long as you normally would will instantly help you control your portion sizes, which naturally decreases calorie consumption.
Reason #2 – It Gets Your Digestive Tract Going
When you begin chewing food, it gives a signal to your digestive tract that digestion needs to begin. As you begin chewing, the stomach is signaled to begin making more stomach acid.
The act of chewing even alerts your pancreas to get ready to begin adding its contents to your small intestines. If you don’t chew properly, your digestive tract won’t start working like it should.
Reason #3 – Chewing Begins the Digestive Process
Chewing actually begins the digestive process. As you begin chewing food, you use your teeth to break down the food into small particles. When you chew, the mouth begins to secrete saliva.
That saliva helps to coat the food you’re eating with special enzymes that work to start the digestion of starches and fats while they are still in your mouth. Failing to chew your food means that you never begin the digestive process in the mouth, making digestion harder on the rest of the digestive tract.
Reason #4 – It Ensures Food is Digested Properly
When food hits your stomach, stomach acid and the digestive enzymes secreted only work on the very surface of food particles. When you thoroughly chew food, the digestive enzymes and the stomach acid can more easily work on those small particles.
If you don’t chew food well enough, large pieces may not be fully digested. By chewing food until it is nearly liquefied, the stomach acid and digestive enzymes can easily coat the particles and ensure that the food is properly digested.
Reason #5 – Chewing Helps Prevent Diseases
You may not realize it, but chewing your food helps prevent diseases. Chewing food properly helps to support the body’s digestive process, which ensures that the body gets the nutrients it needs to fight off diseases.
When food is properly digested, you’ll sleep better, you’ll have more energy and your immune system will be able to work harder at keeping you well.
Reason #6 – Properly Chewing Food Promotes Repair and Growth
Properly chewing food also promotes body repair and growth. Proteins are one of the molecules found in foods and they are so important to your body because the body breaks them into amino acids. Those amino acids are the building blocks for repair and growth within the body.
Without those amino acids, your body cannot live and the body is unable to create its own amino acids without proteins. Failing to chew your food properly makes it more difficult for proteins to be digested, making it tough for your body to break proteins into the amino acids it needs for repair and growth.
Reason #7 –Your Food Gets More Exposure to Your Saliva
Saliva contains digestive enzymes, so the longer you chew, the more time these enzymes have to start breaking down your food, making digestion easier on your stomach and small intestine.
One of these enzymes is lingual lipase, an enzyme that helps break down fats, for example. Saliva also helps to lubricate your food so it’s easier on your esophagus.
Start chewing your food better. Pay attention to how well you chew your food. It really will improve your health!