Every Chew Counts
People with digestive problems like acid reflux disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and diverticulosis live with ongoing discomfort. If this describes you, one of the first questions you should ask yourself is how well you chew your food.
New research shows why chewing is so important. How many times you chew each bite of food affects the nutrients you get. It also affects how full you feel after eating and how long a snack or meal leaves you feeling satisfied.
While how you chew your food might not seem like a big deal, it has far-reaching health benefits.
Such a Little Thing, But The Difference is Great
Researchers from the Purdue University’s Department of Foods and Nutrition in Indiana focused their study on almonds and the effects of chewing them different amounts before swallowing.
They chose almonds because your body can only use many of the nut’s nutrients if the almond’s cell walls are broken prior to digestion. The researchers gave healthy adults a handful of almonds and asked them to chew them either 10, 25, or 40 times before swallowing. They repeated this over several days.
The group chewing the almonds 40 times felt more satisfied. Their hunger fell below baseline measurements. Their sense of satisfaction lasted longer, too. The body’s insulin response and absorption of healthy fats was also better in the group that chewed the nuts 40 times rather than fewer times. (1)
Each of these findings show that chewing your food well promotes healthy weight loss. Reduced hunger, a lasting sense of fullness, and better insulin response all help to reduce your urge to overeat.
Researchers believe that though their study focused on almonds, the beneficial effects of better chewing will be seen across most, if not all, foods.
Chew More for Better Digestion
The act of chewing stimulates saliva production. It also adjusts the pH in your mouth to better break down food. And it triggers the release of hydrogen carbonate, protein, epidermal growth factor, and prostaglandins. These compounds begin the digestive process. They also protect the mouth and esophagus from damage.
People with acid reflux disease-a condition that causes esophageal damage-don’t have the right balance of these compounds in their mouths. Researchers discovered that teaching reflux patients better chewing habits increased the protective compounds in their mouth and throat. As a result, they enjoyed a reduction in the painful symptoms of heartburn. Better chewing is a completely natural solution to acid reflux disease. (2)
It will also help reduce irritable bowel and diverticulosis symptoms. The more broken down food is when it reaches your digestive tract, the better your body will be able to use it and the less likely you’ll experience indigestion, gas, or bloating after a meal. If you chew better, you’ll feel better.
How you eat isn’t as important as what you eat, but it clearly plays an important role in how well your body uses your food. By slowing down and chewing your food more, you can eat less, lose weight, and digest your food better. It’s a simple, but powerful change.
Discuss changes to your diet, exercise, or supplement routine with your doctor.
- Cassady BA, et al. “Mastication of almonds: effects of lipid bioaccessibility, ap petite, and hormone response,” Am J Clin Nutr 2009; 89(3): 794-800
- Sarosiek J, et al. “Enhancement of salivary esophagoprotection: rationale for a physiological approach to gastroesophageal reflux disease,” Gastroenterology 1996; 110(3): 675-81 E
Dr. Blankstein has been practicing for over 30 years as a leading Cardiologist. Trained in traditional medicine and Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease, he knows the importance of good medical care. This consideration has allowed him to discover safe and natural ways of healing. His dedication to bringing the latest and best in health solutions to his patients and the public has given him the experience to research and develop proven natural remedies for many illnesses.
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