How many of you sit down to your meals throughout the day and think of eating them as just an after thought?  Something you know you have to do?  Do you feel bloated after eating – even if what you ate was healthy?  If this is you, you are missing one of the most pleasurable experiences of eating.

Most of us just inhale our foods.  We are already on to the next bite before we have even finished chewing the first bite.   We don’t seem to get the fact that digestion begins in the mouth.  The saliva that is secreted when we chew is actually the first step to digestion, breaking down the carbohydrates.  If you think about your stomach working to break down every little bit of food you put in your mouth, it makes sense that the more you break it down in the chewing process, the easier the digestion process will be.  When you chew your food, you are doing some of the work for your own stomach.  There will be less whole food in the stomach and the digestion process will be faster.  Therefore, you will not have that bloated feeling after you have finished your meal.

Chewing also makes food more enjoyable.  Complex carbohydrates start breaking down in the mouth by an enzyme in saliva knows as analyse.  It is only by chewing the carbs thoroughly and mixing them with analyse that we can taste all of their sweetness.  This sweet flavor becomes a reward for chewing.  We all have a sweet tooth – chewing is one way to work with the body’s cravings for sweet food.

There is no specific recommendation for chewing.  I suggest try chewing each bite for about 25 times.  This will make your meal times longer and more enjoyable.  Try it tonight and see how relaxed you can be after your meal!

Shauna Goodwin