The Importance of Chewing
Everyone looks forward to a great meal. Whether you’re omnivore or carnivore, there are taste sensations to be experienced. But how many of us truly appreciate the art of eating? Here’s the question: do you know how many times you chew your food?
According to the old wives tale, the more you chew your food, the better it is for you. Well, it looks like grandma was right. Science has recently been chewing the fat over the chewing facts and there are some interesting reasons why you should take your time over dinner.
Digestion starts from the moment you place your food in your mouth. Your saliva produces an enzyme called amylase. All the simple starches in your food are broken down by this enzyme and carried into the bloodstream directly through the flesh in your mouth. The more you chew your food, the more completely this digestive process takes place. Chewing also cleans your food before it hits your stomach – saliva is antibacterial.
Chewing sends messages to your stomach about the nature and amount of food that is about to be digested. If your stomach knows ahead of time that there is an ice-cream sundae, some deep-fried chips and a Coke on the way down, it can better prepare the right amount of acid to help digest the mess.
If the stomach acids are not working sufficiently – which is often the case in those following a western-styled diet and gobbling it hastily on the run – food can remain in undigested clumps and move into the intestines where it rots and festers away, creating ill health. Get those teeth working!
And if you get those teeth sufficiently a’crunching, you may be able to throw away those magical moisturisers. According to university studies, chewing stimulates the endocrine system, keeping your hormones in balance for a happier, younger-looking you. In particular, the parotid glands just under your cheekbones release a cell-rejuvenating substance. I’m sure they would bottle it if they could, but they can’t, so chew for youth instead.
And what’s the use of beauty without brains? The more you chew, the more oxygen is sent to the brain. So take your time and give your meal a thorough munching if you want to score well on those exams.
Scientists have also discovered that munching is magnificent for the memory. It may help keep dementia in the elderly at bay. It seems that the more you chew, the more short-term memory cells you develop. When people get older, they lose their teeth and start eating mushy foods. The short-term memory may be compromised because of this simple change in diet and behaviour.
So when is enough enough? How do you know when you’ve munched to the max? Advice from different health care practitioners varies from 32 to 100 chews.
Fans of the macrobiotic diet will chew their food until it is entirely liquefied. This gives the food a chance to become energised by the yin and yang aspects of the mouth cavity, and this energy in turn feeds the highly desirable kundalini, a very peaceful energy.
So next time you’re about to reach for the antacid or the ginger to calm an uneasy digestive tract, know that the solution to your problems may be simpler than you think. Study up on the marvellous benefits of mastication. There are mounds of information for you to chew your way through.