We all know that suffering from digestive problems such as gas, bloating, reflux, stomach cramps, diarrhea, constipation, or irritable bowel syndrome can seriously hinder our daily functioning and make us miserable.
Your gastrointestinal tract (GI) tract acts as your body’s food processor and if it’s blocked, overloaded, polluted with toxins such as food additives, pesticides and preservatives, or otherwise irritated, it is going to let you know how it feels by having one of the reactions listed above.
Your GI tract first breaks down your food by the mechanical process of chewing and then by a multitude of complex chemical processes that extracts nutrients to feed your system and expel toxins.
So what is my best kept secret to better digestion?
Believe it or not chewing is one of the most important aids to our digestion, and it’s also one that we often take for granted -- so much so that we sometimes just swallow our food whole, forgetting to grind our teeth at all!
Learning how to chew your food properly (up to 30 times per bite) will help you extract the maximum nutrients from your food, get your digestive juices flowing, AND help keep your weight down and your tummy flat.
How? Because if you properly chew each bite of nutrient-dense food that you take in, not only does your digestion system have the tools it needs to function more optimally, your brain will also have the time and focus it needs to recognize when you feel satisfied -- and you will eat less! And overeating, even slightly, a major contributor to digestive distress.
My clients find that learning how to chew helps you to:
- Sense intuitively when you are full
- Gain way more satisfaction from eating
- Develop a healthier relationship with food
How to chew better for optimal digestion:
To get in the habit of chewing, try chewing each bite of food at the beginning of your next meal 30 times. (Putting your fork down and breathing between bites will help.) This will feel like FOREVER at first, and you may only be able to make yourself do it a few times. Try making it contest between family members to see who can chew the most times before swallowing. Remember, the more you practice, the more natural it will become to chew slowly and thoroughly.
Even if you only have five minutes for a meal, allow the chewing to relax you. Use it as a way to slow your body down, even for those few short minutes. That way you’ll enjoy the whole spectrum of tastes and aromas that make up the meal, trigger cephalic phase digestion, and your body and brain will be satisfied even with a quick bite.