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Mom was right about this one!  Chew your food people

I know it is only January and Mother’s Day is a ways away, but I feel the need to give a shout out to the Moms out there who do so much and get very little back in return.  I am talking about the advice that they give us all. You know, things like, “Wash behind your ears!”, “Don’t swear!”, and “Chew your food!”  Sounds like sound advice to me. Of course, when as a kid you replied, “Why?”, you received the standard answer from Mom, “Because I said so!”, after which you most likely gulped your food down like a starving lion so you could get back to more important things. You have to admit, Moms have a lot going on so stopping to describe the complex nature and function of the Gastrointestinal tract can get in the way of getting kids to bed, or cleaning the house, or having another glass of wine. We will get back to Mom later.

I am a “people watcher”. I like to observe people and how they do things. I do. I feel that I can learn a lot about people by observing their demeanor and how they go about even the simplest of tasks. I feel it aids me in helping my clients resolve their health issues. One of those normal routine tasks I observe is how someone eats. Specifically, how they chew their food.  You see it may seem like a benign thing but how you chew your food can provide a lot of information about your overall health and wellness. Now you are thinking, “Boss, what are you talking about”?  Let me explain.

So many people I observe do not chew properly, usually meaning long enough. They gulp their food down like a kid trying to move on to those more important things. The fact is that chewing your food is extremely vital to the way your entire metabolic system functions. It is the first step in the process of making energy, eliminating properly, dampening inflammatory responses and more. Chewing can even dictate whether or not you suffer from health issues such as allergies. Now I have your attention. Let me explain.

Chewing your food properly, meaning enough, can ensure better digestion of that food. This will in turn ensure the stomach digests the food at a more efficient rate. The next step is a higher ability for nutrient absorption in the small intestine. This aids in more efficient cellular energy production from better nutrient absorption. It also sets the stage for less inflammatory reactions throughout the entire system.  All the above sets the stage for a higher capacity for healing, building and repair. Finally, improved gastrointestinal elimination can be the “end” result. I hope you appreciate the humor in that statement!

When you chew your food the right way, the digestive tract is signaled to begin releasing digestive acids and enzymes in the stomach that break down food so that your body can deal with it appropriately, like absorbing nutrients, producing energy and eliminating the components of the food that you cannot utilize, i.e. the waste. Chewing also signals the entire GI tract to become active and start moving, a lot like a conveyer belt. Consequently, when you disobey your mother, (which I believe is officially a sin, isn’t it?), by not chewing enough, you are pretty much ensuring that your food is not going to be digested properly. This simple mistake may set the stage for all types of health issues like indigestion, heartburn, reflux, bacterial overgrowth, chronic inflammation, constipation, headache, toxic overload, low energy, fatigue, aches and pains, even diabetes.

The chewing process is termed mastication. The way you do it and how much you do it prior to swallowing can affect your health in so many ways.  Proper mastication sets the stage for optimal nutritional extraction and effects from your food. The same goes with juicing. It is so important that it is the same process the juicing equipment at JUICEBOSS HQ utilizes.  The slow churn masticating juicers we use extract the highest level of nutrients from the vegetables and fruits we use. It preserves those nutrients and unlocks the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anthocyanins, flavonoids, carotenoids and other health bringing, disease fighting compounds. 

The chewing you do with your food can do the same. Here are a few reasons to chew your food better:

1-   Chewing enough decreases the size of the particles of food to small sizes that are easier for your system to digest, preparing the molecules of nutrients to be absorbed through the wall of the small intestine and into the bloodstream where those nutrients can be carried to the cells to do their job. Improperly digested food particles can enter the blood and create various health issues including inflammatory immune reactions. 

2-   Chewing involves the release in the mouth of saliva which contains digestive enzymes. The better and longer you chew your food, it is actually predigested. The saliva helps to liquefy the food and aids in it’s travel through the esophagus to the stomach, where the real digestion takes place. 

3-   Poorly chewed and undigested food will not move through the GI tract in a timely manner. It will create a situation where there can be an increase in bad intestinal bacteria.  If you experience excessive gas, smelly gas or bowel movements, bloating, cramping and issues like diarrhea and constipation, this is most likely the reason.

4-   Chewing is good for your mouth and teeth.  The saliva released aids in eliminating bacteria in the mouth itself. The actual pressure of chewing is much like intense resistance exercise for long bones. It strengthens the bones of the jaw that “hold” the teeth in place.

5-   Food is complex and contains many types of molecules including proteins. Proteins are critical because they are digested and metabolized down into amino acids.  Amino acids are the building blocks for growth and repair of cells and tissues. Proteins are difficult to digest. Poor chewing creates a roadblock to the digestion of proteins.

6-   As an added benefit, chewing actually allows you to taste and enjoy your food more. In addition, it has been shown that those who effectively chew their food maintain a healthier body weight. 

So now the question is, “How much do you chew?”

The actual number of times you chew really depends on the food you are eating.  Soft fruits and vegetables are easier to break down than chicken or steak. Common sense should be the rule. Chew your food as thoroughly as you can.  To put a number on it, researchers at Ohio State University say you should chew softer foods about 10 times and more dense foods up to 30 times. Swallow the smallest pieces you can and before eating another bite, make sure you wait a few seconds to let the swallowed portion go down to the stomach. 

Mom usually knows best and in the case of chewing she was right. Do it the right way and help your system as much as you can. You will thank yourself in the long run! You will feel better in many ways.  So, call your Mom today and tell her “Thanks Mom, you were right, and so smart!” Now go and chew that food, wash your hands and behind your ears, brush your teeth and always leave the house with clean underwear on! Mom is BOSS!

JuiceBoss HQ