How many times do you chew your food before you swallow? Maybe 5 or 10 times? But I’m sure it’s not 100 times a bite, like the old wives tale suggests! But it actually turns out that your great grandma was actually right about the importance of chewing. When I was researching how to improve digestion and absorption of nutrients, I was surprised to find out that how many times you chew each bite is correlated with how well you digest the food. Proper chewing can help problems with digestion, gas, bloating, constipation and aide in proper absorption of nutrients.
If you’re like me, you probably eat in a rush or multitask trying to get work done while eating and never sit and slowly eat, and enjoy leisurely meals or snacks. Now I always try to take my time and I have felt much better after my meals.
How Many Times do Most People Chew a Bite?
A recent study of 1,000 people found that on average a person chews each bite only six times before swallowing the food. This not nearly enough to ensure proper digestion!
How chewing affects digestion and absorption of nutrients:
Chewing each bite actually starts the whole digestive process.
So, chewing each bite for a longer and more adequate time allows for better overall digestion of the food. As you chew each bite, more saliva is released which helps increase your digestive enzymes. The chewing process stimulates the stomach and it begins producing more stomach acid in preparation to breakdown the food. In particular, the stomach cell linings produce more stomach acid, also called hydrochloric acid, which is essential for proper digestion. Having sufficient digestive enzymes and stomach acid is important as without it, your body is not able to optimally breakdown the nutrients and amino acids from the protein in food.
Chewing each bite into smaller pieces also is beneficial because the small pieces of food can more easily mix with the stomach acid, which allows for the stomach acid to easily breakdown the proteins. This way stomach acid can also better eliminate any harmful bacteria or pathogens in the food as well.
Additionally, adequate chewing also has been found to increase the absorption of fats and fiber from food and make the vitamins and minerals more easily absorbed.
Not having adequate stomach acid is actually very common and most don’t know that it is causing a variety of health conditions. This is primarily because when you don’t have enough stomach acid it negatively affects the digestion of all the vitamins and nutrients.
Benefits of taking time and chewing eat piece of food:
Here are just some of the benefits you may see by thoroughly chewing each bite.
- Improved digestion
- Increased absorption of nutrients
- Reduced diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, nausea
- Reduced bloating and gas
- Helps weight loss
How many times should your food?
According to researchers at Ohio State University, each mouthful should be chewed at least 30 times. They also said that softer foods, like mashed potatoes should be chewed 5 to 10 times.
To increase weight loss, one study found that participants who chewed each mouthful 40 times lost more weight than those who chewed each mouthful less than 10 times.