There is a saying about Mindful Eating: “Drink your food and chew your drink.”
Learning how to eat mindfully is an important lesson for everyone and especially beneficial to young students so they establish a lifelong pattern that can prevent obesity and stomach problems later in life. Think about what this truly means. If you pay attention and chew with grateful awareness, you are less likely to have digestive and even weight problems. The slower you chew, the less likely you are to overeat.
Many people eat on the run; swallowing large bites which can create digestive problems, including gas and bloating, constipation, abdominal pain and more. Mindfulness is all about paying attention and this includes not only solid food, but also being mindful when we drink. Consciously sipping as opposed to “gulping” what you drink also plays a vital role in healthy consumption of nutrients and minerals as well as presence of mind. Digestion is a very demanding process on your body, so the more you chew, the easier the digestion.
So how long should you chew before swallowing? Victorian era food scientist Horace Fletcher, known as the “Great Masticator” promoted chewing each bite 100 times before swallowing. He swore by this method, which allowed him at the age of 58 to outperform several college athletes in a series of strength and endurance tests. Today, most dietitians recommend chewing each bite 50 times. After fifty conscious chews, the food is mixed with digestive enzyme-rich saliva has broken down particles for better absorption. This means more nutrients and higher energy. This was put to the test in 2013 by Purdue University scientists. In findings announced at that year’s Institute of Food Technologists, Dr. Richard Mattes, a professor of foods and nutrition, said that making each morsel smaller aided in digestion.
“Particle size affects the bio-accessibility of the energy of the food being consumed,” Mattes said. “The more you chew, the less is lost and more energy is retained in the body.”