We all remember being told by our parents not to gobble our food. It's unsightly and impolite and on par with having your elbows on the table. However that's not the only reason you're better chewing carefully, and in fact if you don't eat slowly there can be many negative implications on your health. Here we will have a look at what those are and why it's so important to take the time to carefully chew your food. Maybe your parents knew what they were talking about after all...
If you chew slowly then you are far less likely to get indigestion and heart burn. There are several reasons for this but one of them is that you will be chewing more for each piece of food. Thus the size of the pieces going down will be smaller and your body will find it much easier to digest them – rather than feeling large chunks slide down your esophagus. Furthermore if you chew more carefully and slowly then you will be likely to swallow less air and this will also prevent you from getting indigestion as this is a common cause – if you swallow too much air then it can cause your esophageal sphincter to open allowing stomach acids to come back up and out of the stomach and into the throat or chest. Indigestion is highly important and if you chew more slowly and thoroughly then you can spare yourself a lot of pain – in fact indigestion can sometimes be so uncomfortable that it gets mistaken for heart attack, so it's really something you want to avoid if at all possible. This will also help you to be more energetic and to not have to lie down while your energy resources are focused on helping you digest your food.
Trapped wind has several causes, but among the most prevalent is eating too quickly. When you do this you of course tend to gobble and take in big gulps and this means that you're taking in more air than you would if you chewed more carefully. This wind can then create discomfort and flatulence.
Chewing your food is actually the first stage of digestion and can be viewed just like digestion that occurs in the stomach. Just as your stomach contains enzymes that break down the foods your mouth also has enzymes – in the form of saliva – and these perform the same job. Part of the reason you need to break down foods is so that the minerals and vitamins can be more easily absorbed by the body into the blood stream rather than passing through unused. So if you give your stomach a helping hand in digesting the food in other words, this will mean that more of those nutrients make it into your blood stream. More vitamins, more minerals and more amino acids. In short you will benefit more from your food and have a healthier system that has more resources available to it.
By eating more slowly you can help yourself to lose weight. This works through two different methods. The first is psychological – by eating slowly you chew more and this tricks your brain into thinking you're more full. Meanwhile this allows the hormones that tell the brain your full time to do their work whereas otherwise you can stuff yourself further before the signal reaches the brain causing you to feel bloating and over-full when it does get there. Of course this also is a sure fire way to put on weight.
The other way this works is through the physical act of stretching the stomach. When our stomach is packed full this is one of the signals that tells us to stop eating – that's why gastric bands are so successful. However if you regularly eat too much this causes your stomach to stretch and become bigger and thus in future it will take more food to make you feel completely full – and that's the fast track to gaining weight. The great thing about eating more slowly is that it's just as satisfying and in fact moreso; but just this simple action of taking a little longer with your food is enough to help you start losing weight or at least not put as much on.
As mentioned eating more slowly allows you to enjoy your food more rather than less. This is because you will get to enjoy it for longer, and because you will get to sample the tastes individually as well as together. You'll taste more of it, and ultimately you won't be left watching other people eat with nothing left on your plate.
Eating chunks of food that are too large will cause you to not feel full and will lead to indigestion and poor absorption. However eating chunks that are really big and doing so in a hurried way can make you far more likely to choke on a piece. This of course is quite dangerous and can be enough to even be life threatening. While that's one risk another is that you can bite the inside of your mouth or your tongue – which is incredibly painful. In either of these instances you will find yourself rather wishing that you had eaten more slowly to begin with.
And finally your Mother was right – eating too fast is not attractive and it can make you more likely to drop food down your front or get it stuck around your mouth which is very off putting for everyone else. Getting into the habit of eating slowly is useful for when you need to entertain clients or go on a date and in either situation it can really help you to make a great impression.