This Week’s Health Goal: Chew Your Food More!

Chew Your Food More

How many times does the average person chew their food before swallowing?

 

There’s actually not that much data on this. However, Subway surveyed 1,000 people last year, and the average came out to 6. People chew their food 6 times before swallowing! And that’s not nearly enough.

According to multiple studies coming out over the past few years, we should be chewing each bite about 30-40 times for most foods. Softer foods, like mashed potatoes, bananas, etc, only need about 10 chews before being swallowed. To ensure proper digestion, the average person is really going to need to up their game.

 

Why Chewing More Is Good For You

So why can’t we just chew a few times and have that be good enough? We’ve listed the reasons below as to why chewing more will actually help keep you healthier.

  1. Easier Digestion: When we chew more, we break down our food into really small parts and increase the amount of saliva that the food gets exposed. Digestion is a very energy-intensive activity and takes a lot out of us. The more work we do in the beginning to break food down, the less work the rest of the digestive system has to do. Also, saliva contains enzymes to start the digestive process. If we don’t soak our food in saliva, we’re missing out on a crucial digestive step.
  2. Helps Keep Weight Down: Researchers found that when subjects were told to chew their food longer, they ate 11.9% less calories. This study has been repeated in various ways, but always shows that the more times you chew, the less calories you intake!
  3. Less Gas and Bloating: If larger particles of food enter your intestines, putrefactive bacteria have to break it down. (Gross, right?) This is a normal process, but only when in very small amounts. Too much of this will cause cramping, bloating, gas, and other unwanted side effects. Think of leaving milk out in the sun too long or leaving meat on the counter and forgetting about it for a few days. (Good stuff!) Well the same things happen in our gut with too large of food particles!
  4. Increased Nutrient Absorption: Finally, we have increased nutrient absorption from food when we chew longer. One of the reasons for this is that we don’t have the irritation caused by over-sized food particles. Our gut lining is healthier and able to absorb more. Large particles are also less likely to get absorbed all together. They might pass out of the body before we are ever able to extract the nutrients from them. (And calories are typically more quickly extracted than vitamin and nutrients.)

In conclusion, chew more to feel better! Over 95% of the control or our immune system is located in the gut. A healthy gut leads to a healthy you!

 

yours in health, dr Samantha boldt