Lisa Dunbar is a Dundalk-based health and nutrition coach
This week I want to have a chat with you about something that might seem really basic, but it is an issue I see all the time - how we chew our food. Or rather how we DON’T chew our food as the case often is!
In today’s fast-paced world, we are often eating on-the-go and in a hurry or concentrating on work or TV or our phones while we are eating. This results in us eating mindlessly and not paying attention to HOW we are eating, and therefore not chewing our food properly.
The purpose of food is to deliver important nutrients into our bodies. Unfortunately, shoveling the food into our mouths is not sufficient – our body has to break it down and digest and absorb those nutrients in order for us to get the benefits. Chewing is the first stage in this important process.
Think of it like this. Your 9-metre long digestive system is like a production line in a factory. What happens if the first person on a production line doesn’t do what they are supposed to do? Well, it messes up everything that comes afterward! In the same way, if your mouth doesn’t chew your food properly before swallowing and passing it onto the next part of the line, your stomach, then you are putting lots of unnecessary pressure on the rest of your digestive system to try to catch up and make up for the lack of chewing.
This can cause lots of uncomfortable physical symptoms such as heartburn and bloating, but much more important than that is the risk that your body won’t break down and digest your food properly and you, therefore, won’t get all the benefits of having eaten that food.
Some people find this very difficult, but ideally, you should chew each mouthful of food until it is the consistency of a thick soup! Appetizing! Obviously different foods require different amounts of chewing, but some foods, particularly meat, require up to 30 chews to chew them properly! YES, 30 CHEWS!
So start paying attention to HOW you are eating, make sure your mouth is doing its job properly and just remember this – your stomach doesn’t have teeth!
Lisa is a Nutrition and Health Coach based in Dundalk. Having used diet and lifestyle changes to help recover from physical and mental health challenges, Lisa is now on a mission to motivate others to live a healthier life. See: www.lisadunbarhealth.com/ or follow Lisa at: www.facebook.com/lisadunbarhealth/ This article also appears in the print edition of this week's Dundalk Democrat.
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