They say you must chew every bite of food at least 20 times before swallowing it . Is it true?
Yes, it is and is definitely a great way to maintain healthy stomach and bowel.
Eating fast and swallowing air while not chewing food well can also cause acid reflux along with gas, indigestion, IBS, heartburn, constipation, and bloating. With the advent of fast foods which can be literally consumed ‘fast’ requiring little effort in chewing, there are rising instances of digestive diseases and disorders.
Importance of chewing:
In the process of digestion, teeth are the only tools that help in grinding or physical breakdown of the ingested food . As food passes into the stomach, only mixing of food particles with the juices take place; similar to that in a washing machine.
- Chewing or mastication helps to break down the food into small size particles thereby allowing them to pass through the narrow tube called esophagus which carries food to the stomach
- Chewing food thoroughly for sufficient time allows proper mixing of the food particles with the saliva in the mouth. The saliva plays an important role in digestion as it contains enzyme called salivary amylase that initiates the process of starch breakdown in the mouth itself
- Saliva also helps in lubrication thereby allowing smooth passage of food through the digestive tract
- Saliva signals the brain to tell the stomach to make acids, the pancreas to secrete pancreatic juice containing digestive enzymes into the small intestinal tract, and prepares for absorption and breakdown
Digestion is one of the most energy-consuming processes of the body, so it’s essential that we aid the process by taking the right steps. Processed foods are more or less in the ready-to-eat form and require less effort in chewing . But this is detrimental to the digestive process. Improperly chewed larger food particles are not properly exposed to enzymes and remain partly undigested. These begin to then decompose resulting in build-up of undesirable bacteria and fungi.
Proper chewing of food ensures that we take enough time to complete a meal. This in turn gives the body a chance to register that we are full. Improperly chewed / broken down food particles do not mix thoroughly with the digestive juices and may result in indigestion and poor absorption of nutrients. It means that poorly chewed food remains poorly absorbed. Proper chewing a habit that needs to be cultivated right from childhood but it can be developed in adulthood too with practice.
In this carefully and thoughtfully designed system called the human body- each and every part has an important and specific role to play. The efficiency of the system increases when each and every tool is used to its optimum capacity. Those 32 shiny whites are there for a reason and we need to make sure that we put them to use . Ask the value of healthy teeth to the 80 year old struggling to chew even rice ….
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