Chewing. It’s an everyday part of our lives that most of us take for granted. Remember when Grandma said we should chew our food at least 20 times before swallowing it? Do you still practice that habit? If you said “no,” you are not alone. Unfortunately, many of us have long since forgotten her advice and chew “just enough” to grind our food into manageable bits before swallowing it.
Consider this fact: Did you know that chewing your food at least 20 times in between bites can add more years to your life? It’s true. In fact, chewing plays a vitally important role in preventing serious health conditions such as diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, and acid reflux, just to name a few. It also plays an integral role in weight management.
Chewing initiates the digestion process when the teeth grind the food into smaller bits and mix with a salivary enzyme called amylase. Amylase aids the digestion process by turning starch into sugar. This is where the chemical process of digestion begins. However, when you chew just a few times and swallow your food before this process can take full effect, it goes down completely undigested. Undigested food passes through the system more slowly than fully-digested food, and you don’t get the nutritional benefit that your body craves.