Six reasons to chew for 30 bites - LivewellNebraska.com
Livewell logo
  Get the Mobile App


Six reasons to chew for 30 bites

Heather Caspersen is a certified health coach with a bachelors in health promotion and management. She works for Family Resources of Greater Nebraska. Learn more about Heather here.

When it comes to increased health, it's not just what we eat but how we eat.

Digestion actually begins in the mouth, where contact with our teeth and digestive enzymes in our saliva break down food.

But these days, most of us rush through the whole eating experience, barely acknowledging what we put in our mouths. We eat distracted — working, reading, talking, watching television — and swallow our food practically whole.

Think about how many times you chew each bite of food. Is your mouth helping out with the digestion process, or are you sending down huge chunks of food for the rest of your body to process? It's no wonder that many people have digestive problems.

Here are a few reasons to slow down and chew!

• Saliva breaks down food into simple sugars, creating a sweet taste. The more we chew, the sweeter our food becomes, so we're less likely to crave those after-meal sweets.

• Chewing reduces digestive distress and improves assimilation, allowing our bodies to absorb the maximum nutrition from each bite.

• More chewing produces more endorphins, the brain chemicals responsible for good feelings.

• It's also helpful for weight loss, because when we chew thoroughly, we're more apt to notice when we feel full.

• Chewing can indirectly increase energy and endurance because nutrients are further broken down, making them easier for our bodies to absorb. In other words, your body doesn't have to work as hard to digest the food and get the good stuff.

• Taking time with a meal, starting with chewing, allows for enjoyment of the whole experience – smells, flavors and textures. It helps us give thanks and show appreciation for the abundance in our lives. We develop patience and self-control.

Try this experiment, and see if you notice a difference in how you feel: Increasing your chewing to 30 chews per bite. Eat without the TV, computer, cell phone, newspaper or noisy company. Instead, just pay attention to the food and to how you're breathing and chewing.

This kind of quiet can be disconcerting at first since we're used to all the stimuli. But as you create a new habit, you will begin to appreciate eating without rushing. You have to eat every day — why not learn to savor and enjoy it?

Try the recipe below. These truffles are packed with nutrients and worth savoring each bite!

Raw Superfood Truffles

Prep time: 5 minutes Yields: 12 Truffles

• 1/3 c of peanut butter or tahini
• 1/4 c unsweetened carob or cacao powder
• 1 tsp maca root (optional)
• 1 TBSP goji berries or raisins
• 1 TBSP sunflower seeds
• 2 tsp shredded coconut
• 2 TBSP honey

Directions: Mix peanut butter or tahini, cacao powder, maca root, and sweetener. Add goji berries or raisins and sunflower seeds. Make a one teaspoon-sized ball. Roll in shredded coconut. Freeze until firm and serve.

*Recipe by Hideyo Yamada

Prep time: 5 minutes Yields: 12 Truffles

• 1/3 c of peanut butter or tahini
• 1/4 c unsweetened carob or cacao powder
• 1 tsp maca root (optional)
• 1 TBSP goji berries or raisins
• 1 TBSP sunflower seeds
• 2 tsp shredded coconut
• 2 TBSP honey

Directions: Mix peanut butter or tahini, cacao powder, maca root, and sweetener well. Add goji berries or raisins and sunflower seeds. Make a one teaspoon-sized ball. Roll in shredded coconut. Freeze until firm and serve.

*Recipe by Hideyo Yamada




Copyright ©2014 Omaha World-Herald®. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, displayed or redistributed for any purpose without permission from the Omaha World-Herald.

You may also like


An Omaha World-Herald digital product

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY

Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Get weekly health tips via our newsletter.




SPONSORED BY