Do you experience bloating, digestive issues, constipation, diarrhea, and/or just don’t feel right after a meal? Did you know how important chewing is in your digestive process and how it could help heal your gut?
In order for us to have proper digestion, we have to be in a parasympathetic state; think rest and digest. If we are in a fight or flight mode, for example, our blood flow is moving away from our digestive system.
Rather watch or listen than read?
Chewing is one of the things that actually helps calm the nervous system. That is one important aspect of why we want to chew our food very well before digesting it. The saliva that is produced in the salivary glands produces digestive enzymes, and these enzymes help break down the food in the mouth, and as it moves into the esophagus.
The first enzyme is called lingual lipase which helps break down our fats. The second is amylase which helps break down our starches. And the third is called lysozyme, which is an antibacterial enzyme. This is important for preventing dental cavities and other infections in the gums.
The more chewing that we do, the more salivary enzymes are released. This influences not only our autonomic nervous system because we need these specific cranial nerves for chewing and swallowing, but it’s also influencing the enteric nervous system, which is our gut. That is, in fact, its own nervous system.
So when this is happening, we’re getting an increase in smooth muscle contraction, intestinal secretions, the release of some of these enteric hormones, and dilation of blood vessels. It is very powerful when we begin the process of chewing thoroughly.
5 Things You Can Do To Maximize Chewing
What are five different things you can do to maximize your chewing, and digestive process?
Before you sit down to eat, try taking at least three diaphragmatic breaths. You want to think of calming your nervous system, bringing blood flow to this area, and bringing yourself to this parasympathetic state so that you can enhance your digestive process.
2) Allow for at Least 30 Minutes of Meal Time
Give yourself plenty of time to be able to sit down, eat your meal, and enjoy the experience rather than rushing your meal. This will also prevent you from overeating because you’re giving your body enough time to tell the brain that you are full.
This is a mindfulness practice, but it’s also important for digestion. When we’re judging ourselves, our food, and the environment, unfortunately, we are typically not totally present, and we’re not being mindful of our food. That often takes us out of that parasympathetic state. So, encouraging a positive eating experience lends itself to optimal digestion.
4) Avoid Water Before Meals
Drinking water before meals can dilute the stomach acids, so it optimizes our natural enzymatic activity.
5) Chew 20-30 Times
Chew your food at least 20 to 30 times. In our Ayurvedic medicine, chewing at least 30 times has been extremely beneficial.
If you’re thinking about healing your gut, start with chewing your food.
Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.
For more content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.
Other things that may interest you: