We all want a perfect smile. Many pay thousands of dollars to achieve flawless white teeth. But did you know your pearly whites are the first line of defense to a healthier you?
I eat fast. I learned to do this in the military. We had less than fifteen minutes to travel through the food line, sit, eat, and get back into formation. No wonder they called our meal chow. I’d get stomach cramps and poor bowel movements. Many of the soldiers did. Later in life, I learned the benefits of chewing my food thoroughly, and I need to share them with you.
Studies show our food should be masticated (chewed) about thirty times. However, if it’s steak we should gnaw on it up to forty times. The good news, those delicious, mashed potatoes and other soft foods only need about seven passes over the teeth.
In this fast paced life, many of us don’t have time to sit for a meal let alone chew our food over twenty-five times per bite. So why should we fight to bite?
The life-long benefits outweigh the time it takes to fully consume a meal properly. Let’s take a look at a few of those life-long benefits:
- More blood flow to the brain.
- Your body absorbs more of the vital nutrients.
- You maintain a healthier weight.
- Food digests easier.
- Easier on your teeth.
- Less bacteria in your intestines.
- You Enjoy and Taste Your Food!!
The digestion process starts in the mouth as you chew. Saliva contains special enzymes to help digest the starches and break down fat so the body can absorb them easier. If you don’t completely chew, the food sits in your stomach a long time, causing bloating and heartburn.
Food travels down the esophagus and into the stomach in a few seconds. When we don’t take the time to properly chew our food, we can consume more than we need before the feeling of satiation reaches the brain. It takes about twenty minutes for your brain to send a signal that your stomach is full.
The act of mastication makes more blood flow to the brain. The theory is if there is less blood flow to the brain, the risk of Alzheimer or dementia rises. People with few or no teeth will chew less; resulting in less blood flow to the brain.
Many of us desire to burn more calories. Why not chew your food until there are no more lumps. You can burn up to 10 calories for a 300-calorie meal. This may not seem like much, but over the course of a month you can burn up to 2,000 calories. Research also suggests it may help control your appetite.
The mastication of hard food stimulates saliva production. Saliva kills harmful oral bacteria, neutralizes harmful acid, and supplies minerals that help teeth stay strong.
Studies show the digestion system works better when we don’t consume liquid fifteen minutes prior to eating or fifteen minutes after our meal. When you drink before, the digestive enzymes become diluted. Any liquid during or right after the meal will push the food through the digestive system faster and hinders the absorption of nutrients.
Six Essential Nutrients
There are six essential nutrients our bodies need to function. The body cannot make these on its own so these nutrients must be gained from food.
- Carbohydrates: This is the main sources of energy for the body.
- Vitamins: Each vitamin aids with different aspects of the body. Some vitamins help you resist infections, aid in a healthy nervous system, while others may help acquire energy from food.
- Minerals: Some minerals are used for metabolic processes and others are used as part of body structures like calcium in our bones and teeth.
- Proteins: These are used for growth, repair, and maintenance of body tissue.
- Fats: These insulate and protect different parts of the body. Dietary fats produce energy and support cell function. Fats help absorb nutrients and produce hormones.
- Water: Water regulates body temperature. Blood and other body fluids are mostly water, which helps to carry nutrients around the body and in and out of cells. Our bodies are 45-75% water.
So, if you feel tired or experience digestive problems—such as gas, bloating, constipation, food reactions, and headaches—perhaps you need to chew your food for a healthier you.
About the Author
Cherrilynn Bisbano is chaplain and ordained minister who is an award-winning writer, speaker, and coach. She loves encouraging her brothers and sister to stand firm and shine for Jesus. Her book Shine Don’t Whine is helping many women overcome, fear, anxiety, perfectionism, and worry. Her newest release, Experience Immanuel Daily, ignites a desire for readers to draw close to God. You can find Cherrilynn at https://cherrilynnbisbano.com/.