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Sometimes we forget to focus on the most simple of things. It is useless to take care of our diet, to make nutritious recipes, eat organic foods, focus on balanced and complete dishes, if later we fail in one of the most basic things in the assimilation process, chewing.
Chewing is the first phase of the digestion process, we could say that this work begins in the mouth and then continues in the stomach, intestines and culminates with the expulsion of waste.
But, in the first phase that we do completely involuntarily, how we chew is fundamental and will effect the quality of digestion, the best absorption of nutrients from food, the correct elimination of toxins and even the quantity of food we eat.
Saliva, your ally
When chewing, food must be broken down into small pieces that can be easily swallowed, but it is just as important that it mixes perfectly with saliva.
Saliva secretes an enzyme responsible for breaking down food and facilitating its assimilation. It is important to allow time for the saliva to surround the entire bite.
How to chew
- “Drink your food, chew your drink.” This phrase is well known and perfectly represents how we have to chew: until the solid is almost liquid and you can drink it.
- 40 times: Research says that each bite should be chewed this number of times. We understand that counting can be boring and it’s almost impossible to carry out. But keeping that number in mind gives us a reference of how little we usually chew food. Most of us are in a rush to just swallow food.
- Put down the silverware: This is a very good technique. It is about leaving your fork on the table between each bite in order to use that moment for chewing.
- Concentration: When you eat, just eat. This means that we should avoid conversations, television, mobile phones and above all, work in front of the computer.
- Liquids: you can also make the gesture of chewing foods such as yogurt, creams or smoothies so that the saliva breaks them down before reaching the stomach.
- Leave the rush: Reserve at least half an hour to eat calmly. If you don’t have time, you better save it for another time.
Benefits of proper chewing
- Better assimilation of nutrients and vitamins from ingested food: the more crushed the food reaches the intestines, the better it will be absorbed in that part of the body.
- Reduction of problems derived from poor digestion: if the decomposition phase of food does not occur in the mouth, it will have to occur in the stomach and the stomach does not have teeth, right? So the extra work of the stomach can cause gas, burning, bloating, heaviness …
- Satiating effect: the more we chew, the sooner we will feel satisfied. Also, keep in mind that it takes about 20 minutes for the brain to pick up on the feeling of fullness. Don’t be in a hurry!
- Appropriate weight: according to many studies, spending more time chewing causes us to eat less food, which can prevent obesity problems.
- Under stress: chewing oxygenates the body a lot, causing a feeling of well-being.
- Enhances the immune system: A study has found that when chewed, specific type of immune cell, called Th17, is stimulated.
- Greater pleasure: by chewing longer, we enjoy the taste of food more.
- Stronger teeth: chewing strengthens the roots of the teeth and promotes salivation. Saliva helps prevent bacteria and reduces the risk of cavities.