The Art of Mastication: Why Chewing Your Food Properly is Important

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Author: Leo Akin
November, 2014

Introduction

Chewing food is a reflex action for everyone. If you are hungry or eating in a hurry, chances are that you will chew your foods very quickly and improperly. Some people have made a bad habit for not chewing well before they swallow their foods. Unfortunately, this habit may affect your health in more ways than you know. Your chewing pattern as well as the duration of mastication can have simple but profound effects on the digestive process because digestion begins right from your mouth.

Top 6 Reasons to Chew Your Foods Properly


  1. Savor Your Food
    The longer food spends in your mouth, the better you can enjoy its taste. The act of mastication breaks down food into smaller sizes and releases deep layers of flavor and tastes. In addition, longer chewing times ensure that the food can move around longer in your mouth and activate the different taste regions. People who enjoy their foods chew slower and savor every moment of eating. And so should you too.

  2. Exercise For Your Teeth

    Teeth are like bones. They need to be exercised too. The longer you masticate, the more workout you give your teeth. Teeth are not the only buccal parts benefiting from chewing. Your gums and jaws do too. The act of chewing keeps their muscles active allowing you to apply increasing amounts of pressure when required.

  3. Faster Digestion

    Chewing is the first step in the digestive process. It breaks down food into smaller chunks and even liquefies them. This means that the act of mastication predigests your food before passing them down to the gut. Therefore, chewing properly, slowly and for longer makes digestion easier and faster. This is important because the processes involved in digestion require a lot of energy. Predigestion by proper chewing reduces the amount of energy and time foods take in the gut before they are totally broken down and absorbed.

    In addition, prolonged mastication increases the exposure of foods to saliva. Saliva is an excellent lubricant. Therefore, coating your food with saliva eases its passage down the esophagus to the gut. Furthermore, saliva contains digestive enzymes that can predigest foods before they reach the gastrointestinal tract. For example, a family of lipase enzymes can be found in the saliva. Saliva lipases can start the breakdown of fats in foods even before they reach the intestines.

  4. Lower Risks of Gastrointestinal Complaints

    Improperly chewed foods show up in the intestines as rather large chunks. Therefore, it takes longer for the digestive enzymes in the intestines to break them down. This means that these large-sized foods are already decomposing before the digestive enzymes fully reach them.Such decay foods release gas in the gut. Decaying foods can also cause other gastrointestinal discomforts such as bloating, abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhea.

    Therefore, improper chewing of foods can significantly worsen systemic infection, inflammation and autoimmune response to the leakage of undigested food particles through the gut to the blood. The trio of infection, inflammation and autoimmune reaction is responsible for triggering and sustaining a number of chronic diseases ranging from inflammatory bowel disease to skin diseases (acne etc.) and even certain psychological conditions.

  5. Improved Absorption and Utilization of Nutrients

    Properly chewing your foods ensures that large food particles are already broken down to smaller sizes by the time they reach the stomach and the intestines. This makes it a lot easier for the absorption of nutrients to proceed from the intestines. Chewing foods into small sizes is important for absorption. The absorption of nutrients proceeds slower and to smaller extents from large, partially digested food particles.

    Most of the foods you chewed improperly are eliminated by excretion as the gut is emptied before they are fully absorbed. Therefore, chewing your foods improperly is such a waste because it can starve your body of important nutrients even though you are eating well.

  6. Prevents Overeating

    Chewing properly, slower and for longer can help you eat less and lose weight. The results of a number of studies show that people who eat slowly feel fuller and consume less than those who eat in a hurry. This happens because it takes some time for the brain to signal the stomach while eating. Typically, it takes 20 minutes for the brain to signal that you are sated. If you chew your foods rather too quickly, it is almost certain that you are overeating. Therefore, you should embrace the art of proper masticating not only to chew better but also to consume less portion and improve your weight loss efforts.
Vitastrong

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