Dinner Diva: Something to chew on

You take much care to choose healthy foods that will do your body good and you carefully prepare those foods into delicious meals.
Why negate any of that effort by mindlessly stuffing food into your mouth?
One thing many of us are guilty of forgetting is that digestion starts with saliva. We eat so quickly that we don’t give our food the attention it needs in order for proper nutrient absorption.
How many times have you told your children to slow down and chew their food? How many times did your parents say the same to you? Do you follow that advice?
Chewing food slowly and taking time to actually taste and savor each and every bite goes a long way toward enjoying each morsel you put in your mouth.
Another useful side effect of chewing each bite more than once or twice is that it slows down the entire process of eating a meal, giving your belly and your brain the message that you’re full much sooner and preventing you from overeating.
The Science.
When we chew our food properly, large food molecules are broken down into smaller particles, giving our food a larger surface area as it goes through the digestive system. This is essential to good digestion. It’s also easier on your esophagus to swallow smaller pieces of food.
The more time your food and your saliva spend together, the better. Contact with saliva not only makes it easier for foods to go through the esophagus, but that saliva is full of enzymes that play a role in the chemical process of digesting our food. The first stage of fat digestion actually happens in the mouth.
When your food isn’t chewed up well, the fragments of food aren’t small enough to be broken down properly. Nutrients aren’t extracted from food like they should be and that leads to undigested food which encourages bacterial overgrowth in the colon. (Can you say flatulence?)
Now I’m not going to tell you to chew each bite 50 times, but a good rule of thumb is to chew until you can’t tell what kind of food you’re eating anymore, based on texture. For example, if you’re eating an apple, don’t stop chewing until you can’t tell the peel from the flesh of the apple.
I don’t want to bore you with an entire health class lesson, but just trust me when I tell you that your food probably needs to be chewed more. When you slow down and chew your food more, you’ll enjoy your food more and you’ll be that much healthier for it.

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