> Masticate to Dominate: The Importance of Chewing Your Food - The Food Safety Company Masticate to Dominate: The Importance of Chewing Your Food - The Food Safety Company
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    Wednesday, 15 March 2017

    Masticate to Dominate: The Importance of Chewing Your Food

    In our large western nations, chewing is underrated; it’s more important wolf down as much food as possible as quickly as possible. Most people can’t be bothered to chew their food for more than a couple seconds. In reality, this robs your body of valuable nutrients and hampers digestive ability.

    Completely chewing food facilitates better digestion.
    Fundamentally, chewing food thoroughly is the first stage of digestion. The glands in the mouth and throat secrete saliva before the first bite of food is taken. Visual and mental cues are enough to get the glands slavering. Once food is the mouth food is broken down into smaller pieces by the teeth and coated by saliva. Human saliva contains enzymes that are designed to break down starches and fats. 

    The enzymes – amylase and lipase – work to digest starches and fats, respectively. A minute of careful chewing digests half of the starch in food in the mouth. Before food has even entered the digestive system, it can be somewhat digested.

    Chewing alerts the digestive tract that it will soon be receiving food, preparing it for the incoming work it must do to digest the food.

    Food that has been chewed into a mush is less stressful on the stomach and digestive tract. This is because mushy food mixes more easily with stomach acid; the more surface area that is exposed to the stomach acid the more food can be broken down.

    Better digestion draws in more nutrients for the body.
    Tying into the previous point, the more effectively food is digested the more nutrients are delivered to the body. Chewing for a longer amount of time increases the amount of protein, vitamins and minerals that the body can metabolize from foods. 

    A study showed that improperly chewed food (i.e. larger particles) feed fungi and bacteria as it progresses through the digestive tract. Basically, the size of the food particles is directly related to the “bio accessibility of the energy of the food that is consumed.” Therefore small particles of food offer better nutritional value to the body while large particles can negatively impact the digestive tract.

    Slower chewing can have an effect on weight loss.
    Improving digestion can actually aid in weight loss. Like nutrients, calories are better digested when food is chewed thoroughly. On the surface this may not seem beneficial to weight loss; however, for every five seconds of chewing, one extra calorie is burned. Those calories add up if you’re, say, eating a bowl of air-popped salted popcorn

    If you need further convincing that chewing is beneficial, think about the mental effect that prolonged chewing can have.  Taking an extra 30 seconds to chew food forces you to appreciate what you’re eating. People who take their time chewing have been found to consume 10% fewer calories than normal. This is related to the time it takes for your brain to send signals to your stomach that you are full.

    Jacqui Litvan

    Jacqui Litvan, wielding a bachelor's degree in English, strives to create a world of fantasy amidst the ever-changing landscape of military life. Attempting to become a writer, she fuels herself with coffee (working as a barista) and music (spending free time as a raver

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