When it comes to losing weight and improving health, it’s not just what you eat but how you eat that's important.
Remember all those times your mom admonished you to slow down and chew your food? In addition to not wanting you to choke, she was on to something important for both digestive health and weight loss.
Digestion actually begins in the mouth, where contact with your teeth and digestive enzymes in your saliva begin the process of breaking down food.
If you are like most people these days, you're rushing through the whole eating experience, barely acknowledging what you're putting in your mouth. You're probably eating while distracted–working, reading, talking and watching television–and swallowing your food practically whole. And that's bad for digestion and losing weight.
It’s no wonder so many people have digestive problems and are turning to antacids for relief!
There are many great reasons to slow down and chew your food:
- Saliva breaks down food into simple sugars, creating a sweet taste. The more you chew, the sweeter your food becomes, so you don’t crave those after-meal sweets.
- Chewing reduces digestive distress and improves assimilation, allowing your body to absorb maximum nutrition from each bite of food.
- More chewing produces more endorphins, the brain chemicals responsible for creating good feelings.
- It’s also helpful for weight loss, because when you are chewing well, we are more apt to notice when you're satisfied.
- In fact, chewing can promote increased circulation, enhanced immunity, increased energy and endurance, as well as improve skin health and stabilize weight.
- Taking time with a meal, beginning with chewing, allows for enjoyment of the whole experience of eating: the smells, flavors and textures. This can lead to being thankful for the abundance in your life, more patience and greater self-control.
I'm not talking about getting regimented and extreme with your chewing, just taking the time to slow down, notice and really enjoy your food in a more sensual way.
Try eating without the TV, computer, iPhone, newspaper or noisy company. Instead just pay attention to the food and to how you are breathing and chewing. And then notice how you feel during the meal and then again a while later.
This kind of quiet contemplative eating can be disconcerting at first, but as you create a new habit, you will begin to appreciate eating without rushing. You have to eat every day–why not learn to savor and enjoy it - especially if it can lead to greater health and weight loss that feels easy and effortless?
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