Chewing food may not seem that important, especially when you are pressed for time and you need to get your food down so you can go on with your routine. But properly chewing food before swallowing can have many benefits to your overall health because it makes it easier for your digestive system.
Makes You Feel Full Faster
When you take the time to properly chew your food, you will eat slower, and far less, but still feel full after your meal. Eating slower gives your brain time to register that you are eating, and therefore it is able to send a signal that you are full when you have eaten enough. You usually have to be about 20 minutes into the meal before your brain is able to send this signal.
Knowing when to stop eating will not only prevent you from gaining excess weight, but it will also help you to lose weight. It will also prevent you from feeling uncomfortably full and tired after your meal.
Helps Absorb Nutrients
Digestion begins in the mouth as soon as the food is exposed to saliva. The longer you chew your foods, the more the food will be exposed to saliva, and as a result more nutrients will be absorbed. This is especially true for nuts and seeds as well as fruits and vegetables, as they contain hard cellulose fibers which cannot be broken down anywhere but in the mouth. This is why when you eat nuts, corn or other vegetables they just seem to pass through your system if they are not properly chewed.
When your body is able to absorb all the nutrients from the foods that you eat you will have much higher energy levels. On top of that, no energy will be wasted on eliminating foods that the body cannot digest or break down.
Properly chewing your food helps to make it easier on the esophagus, as well as your digestive system because you will eat less at each meal. It prevents you from swallowing air along with your food, which can also contribute to heartburn. Chewing also promotes the secretion of saliva which naturally helps to neutralize stomach acid, thus it helps to prevent heartburn.
Helps with Digestion
Carbohydrates are mainly digested in the mouth by the alpha amylase enzyme that is found in saliva. The digestion of fat is also started in the mouth by the lingual lipase enzymes, which are produced by the salivary glands located underneath the tongue.
Food that is not properly chewed is not exposed to these enzymes properly, but instead is passed along into the colon in chunks where it feeds harmful bacteria. This can result in gas, bloating, abdominal cramping, constipation and other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Promotes Good Oral Hygiene
The saliva that is produced by the extra chewing helps to kill harmful bacteria, and washes away food particles from around your teeth. Additionally, saliva contains hydrogen carbonate which helps to neutralize plaque buildup.
You do not need to count how many times you chew your food, as each type of food has different requirements. A general rule is to chew until you cannot feel the texture of the food in your mouth.