Good Digestion and Health Start Here
123rf.com/ Olena Kachmar (Follow)
1. The digestive process starts in the mouth. Your saliva contains a number of enzymes that are incorporated into the food during the chewing process. The most important of these enzymes is amylase. This particular enzyme breaks down complex carbohydrates into simpler sugars that are easier to absorb and serve as the prime energy source for our bodies. It is important to note that drinking too much liquid with a meal can, in fact, dilute these enzymes and actually inhibit digestion.
2. It prepares the body for digestion. The chewing process has also been shown to prepare the stomach for the release of hydrochloric acid, which stimulates the pancreas and helps the lower part of the stomach relax. Since stomach acid only works on the surface of a food particle, larger pieces often go undigested in the stomach and lead to bloating and indigestion. Unfortunately, most Americans reach for an antacid, which only worsens the problem.
slows you down.
By taking more time to chew your food, it gives the stomach the needed time to
signal the brain that it’s full. We’ve all finished a meal with the words, “I
ate too much.” While that’s bound to happen on occasion, it’s best to eat
slowly and mindfully.
4. It’s healthy! The process of chewing does more than just break your food down into smaller pieces. Each tooth sits in a bony socket suspended by the periodontal ligament. During the chewing, the teeth actually move up and down, stimulating the flow of lymphatic fluid in the head and neck area.
All things considered, having a healthy set of teeth and taking the time to chew your food is well worth the effort.
By the way, right after we ate our salad at the end of the meal (in Germany, we always ate the salad last), my grandfather would always eat the remains of our standard apple cider vinegar dressing because, as he intuitively knew, it was good for digestion … how right he was.
Ingo Mahn is a 1985 graduate of Marquette University School of Dentistry. He is
an accredited member of the IAOMT (International Academy of Oral Medicine and
Toxicology) and earned a doctorate in integrative medicine from Capital
University, in Georgetown. He is the founder of Natural Dental Partners (602-775-5120),
a high-tech, health-centered practice in North Phoenix. Visit MyNaturalDentist.com for more information and a listing
of upcoming events.