Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Importance of Chewing your Food

Digestion starts from the moment you place your food in your mouth
By Shmerah E. Keymah R.N.

Science has recently been reviewing the facts about chewing your food and there are some interesting reasons why you should take your time over dinner.

Digestion starts from the moment you place your food in your mouth. Your saliva produces an enzyme called amylase. All the simple starches in your food are broken down by this enzyme and carried into the bloodstream directly through the flesh in your mouth. The more you chew your food, the more completely this digestive process takes place. Chewing also cleans your food before it hits your stomach - saliva is antibacterial.

Chewing sends messages to your stomach about the nature and amount of food that is about to be digested.

If the stomach acids are not working sufficiently - which is often the case in those following a western-styled diet and gobbling it hastily on the run - food can remain in undigested clumps and move into the intestines where it rots and festers away, creating ill health.

According to university studies, chewing stimulates the endocrine system, keeping your hormones in balance for a happier, younger-looking you. In particular, the parotid glands just under your cheekbones release a cell-rejuvenating substance.

The more you chew, the more oxygen is sent to the brain. Scientists have also discovered that munching is magnificent for the memory. It may help keep dementia in the elderly at bay. It seems that the more you chew, the more short-term memory cells you develop. When people get older, they lose their teeth and start eating mushy foods. The short-term memory may be compromised because of this simple change in diet and behaviour.

So when is enough enough? How do you know when you've munched to the max? Advice from different health care practitioners varies from 32 to 100 chews.

Munch away!!!!


Baht Yah said...

Does this mean that chewing gum also grant these benefits even though it deceives the stomach into thinking that food is coming?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Shmerah Keymah for this
informative article. Eating is a daily activity we all take for granted. Your article is scientifically illuminating as well as common sense affirming.

Eating has a nutritional, social and spiritual component which also includes fasting.

The piece evoked some childhood humour for me also when mylate father used to chide us for 'bolting' our food or as we say in African-Caribbean vernacular 'nyam' which is to eat food heartily and quickly. You enlightened me witha smile.

Yishibah Baht Gavriel, London

Matanah Baht Yisrael said...

Todah for sharing! This is very important information!

Ahkote Matanah - Chicago

Anonymous said...

Shalom BahyYah, I take it that your question about the chewing of gum is rhetorical. I am sure your know that with the chewing of gum the stomach secretes all the acids and juices ready to digesT the anticipated food.

When this is not forthcomming the acids and enzymes begin to work on the lining of the stomach leading to ulcers etc. The question is a great one for provoking the thought processes of the majority of African Americans who chew gum. America is gum-popping country!

Oprah should do a national gum withdrawal programme and KOY SHOULD CAMPAIGN TO BAN THE MANUFACTURE OF THE 'FAKE FOOD' CHEWING GUM!