Just Chew It!17 June, 2019
Indigestion, gas, belching, bloating, acid reflux, heartburn…seriously uncool!
Quite often a Karnak scan highlights the fact that you don’t chew your food properly, so I thought it would be useful to provide some simple tips on this first stage of the digestive process. Your stomach doesn’t have teeth and as chewing is the only part of the digestive process over which we have full control, we need to be mindful to chew our food properly in order for our digestive tract to function more efficiently. Doing so will lessen post-meal fatigue, unnecessary bloating and the embarrassing gas.
First things first, slow down. Great idea, but difficult to do? I hear you - with the fast-paced life we’re currently living, this is definitely easier said than done. Digestion takes time so if you ’inhale’ your food, your stomach will have a hard time mixing the digestive secretions with your food, creating a recipe for disaster by way of burping, belching and possibly even reflux! It takes approx. 20 minutes for your brain to register that you’re full and for your appetite to be curbed. Therefore, gulping down your food too quickly, especially when eating “on the go” causes energy to be diverted away from your digestive system, resulting in fewer calories burnt, a slower metabolism and ultimately a bigger waistline.
Secondly, chew your food, properly. Why is this so important?
- Digestion begins in the mouth.
- Proteins, fats & minerals become available for maximum absorption.
- Complex carbohydrates, i.e. whole grains, need to be chewed until they’re liquefied in order to release their maximum nutritional value.
- Not chewing your food properly makes it harder for the digestive enzymes in our intestines to do their job. The result? Yes, you guessed it, bloating, flatulence and possibly even cramps!
Dr Harald Stossier, from the celebrity-favoured Viva Mayr Clinic in Austria, has famously said: “A well-chewed burger is better for your waistline than a badly chewed salad.”
Here are a few helpful tips:
- Try to be more mindful with each meal. Find a quiet place to eat. Sit down as it allows for our nervous system to relax, which in turn improves digestion and gives us a general sense of well being after a meal.
- Try counting your chews with each bite. The general consensus is to chew each mouthful at least 20 times before swallowing. An added bonus here is that you may even notice that the more you chew certain foods, complex carbohydrates especially, the sweeter they taste!
- Prior to eating, put on some soft background music which could actually benefit digestion and turn off all other distracting electronic devices. Reflect on your gratitude for your meal. A few, slow, deep breaths before you start eating also help to calm your body and support digestion.
- During your meal, focus on the act of eating and if you’re struggling to slow down try putting your utensils down between each bite. Savour the colours, flavours, aromas and textures of your food – focusing on your food can reduce overeating.
- After your meal, try to remain in your relaxed state as long as possible. If you are in the company of others, enjoy this special time together.
I know that in our stressful, often chaotic lives, the abovementioned eating etiquette can seem easier said than done but with repetition and persistence this is all doable. We need to make it a habit to prioritize this simple pleasure in life as this is one thing which quite literally creates our future body! So, try to treat each meal as a special event, be mindful when eating and remember to…just chew it!