Digestion starts in the mouth. The physical process of chewing food helps breakdown larger food into smaller particles thereby reducing stress on the esophagus. It also helps the stomach metabolize and to breakdown the food. Saliva also contains digestive enzymes which when released assist in the digestion of food.
Health benefits of chewing food
- Chewing of food sends message to the gastrointestinal system that food in on its way which triggers hydrochloric acid production helping food move through the digestive tract. It also helps in relaxing of the stomach and allowing food to be passed more easily into the intestines.
- Chewing also reduces the risk of bacterial growth. Chunks of food which aren’t broken down into smaller particles can cause bacterial infections in the colon which can cause indigestion, bloating and constipation.
- Chewing of food helps in improving digestion and in the absorption of nutrients. It also has other benefits such as giving your body a chance to process that you’re eating and it can have a positive impact on controlling your weight.
Factors which may lead you to not chew your food
- Maybe you’re in a hurry or stressed. This will lead to you spending less time chewing your food and mixing it with the digestive enzymes in the saliva leading to digestive problems such as constipation and bloating.
- Breathing through the mouth and eating at the same time is socially unacceptable. We should breathe through our nose. However there are some people who have difficulties breathing through their noses and hence tend to eat and breathe at the same time while talking with their friends. This could lead you to not properly chew your food.
- Worn out teeth – If you have worn out teeth then it may be difficult for you to properly chew your food. more on chewing here