CHEW!, CHEW!, CHEW!, CHEW!...
Don't be a dinosaur! Look what happened to them—they used their pearly whites to grab and hack, then they gulped their food. Extinction. Museum Pieces.
So what's the deal about chewing your food?
First, your mouth isn't just a hole for your food to slide down. Oh, no!—your mouth is the first part of your digestive system. Heck, even before you put food in it, if you're thinking about food or smelling food or eyeing some food, your mouth goes to work making sure enzymes are already in place to do their good work. Good work? That has to do with breaking down the food a bit, or a lot, well before it hits your poor, over-worked belly.
Here's what's going on (you can work along with us, here--give some thought to your favorite food, then notice what's happening in your own mouth):
- Your brain senses your interest in having a bite of food.
- It activates part of your digestive process—the salivary glands start pumping a chemical mix (do you feel the "juice" in your mouth?). It includes the enzymes that break down food into molecules.
- The enzymes are fit and ready and in place to really get to work. Did you know that each digestive enzyme has a food speciality? That's right—each enzyme is only interested in one type of food molecule (for example, the enzyme "amylase" is only interested in starting the digestion of starch and sugar).
- But you foil them by eating too fast—gulp, gulp, gulp, just like a dinosaur. No chance for the enzymes to do much.
- But maybe, just maybe, you're a slow eater, so you start chewing away, and you take your sweet time. You're relaxed, good to be around, not a messy eater. You'll go far in life!
- Your enzymes are now happily doing their chemical thing—recognizing the food in your mouth and breaking it all down, bit by bit.
- You chew each mouthful about 30 times. Wow! Thirty times. Typically, teenagers and men chew about seven times. Not good. My friend's dog, Tavish, only chews once, twice max. But then he only lives about 1/7th as long you will. Think there's a link?
- Because you've allowed all that good food to dwell in your mouth for so long, you have optimized its flavor and nutrient values. Well done!
- In a sense, you have "juiced" your food. Yup—your mouth and teeth together are the best food juicers in the world. Sell your juicing machines. Who needs them?
The result of your taking time to chew is that, first, you will have enjoyed all the flavor the food has to offer. Second, you will have started to digest the food so the rest of your digestive system (starting with your tummy) can really extract the most nutrients possible from the juiced foods without experiencing stress. Third, because you have taken your time, your brain will determine that you are full before you over-eat.
Finally, you will have enjoyed your meal, experienced pleasure and satisfaction, avoided feeling stuffed and swollen, and, maybe, enjoyed the company of others around the table; that is, you will have been engaged in mindful eating.
Without enzymes, your cells couldn’t function—which means you couldn’t breathe, hear the phone ring, read the pages of this site, walk to the corner, or even lift a finger. Enzymes can be threatened by lack of variety in a person’s diet. Read more about this imporant matter in Chapter 4 of EAT TO SAVE YOUR LIFE.
Related SupplementsEnzymes are the spark plugs of life, but often need help from other nutrients in your diet, including vitamins and coenzymes like CoQ10.
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