Sunday, November 9, 2008

How Important is Chewing?

Everyone seems to be in a hurry these days. Meal times, especially breakfast and lunch, are rushed. "Wolf it down" seems more common than taking our time with eating. We often swallow food with minimal if any chewing. Is this ok? No!

Chewing our food is an important first step in digestion. Skip it and you may miss getting some of the nutrients in some of the best foods, like our vegetables. Chewing has an important role in eating and should not be skipped. What does chewing our food do?

  • Chewing transforms transforms food into a form that is safer for swallowing.
  • Saliva contains the digestive enzyme amylase that begins the process of breaking down food for digestion into our bodies.
  • Grinding food with our teeth is important in preparing the food for later digestion in the intestine.
  • Taking our time with eating through chewing our food helps us eat less and not gain as much weight.

Chewing is not optional! It is part of good nutrition practice. Think about how much time you spend with chewing. Being conscious of our chewing is a first step in keeping this essential part of digestion in proper perspective.

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