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The simplest thing you can do for your health is …

We are all searching for weight loss tips, or how to help with digestion issues, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and all connected health problems. But actually there is something we can do to improve our health — and it’s so simple, there’s really no reason not to do it.

Chewing.

Yes, just chew your food, it’s that simple! How we eat food is actually much more important that what we eat.

Most people do not chew their food properly. The first thing I’ll do to ensure they chew well is to add a salad or some raw vegetables to their meals. Without that, if you’re not chewing properly, then constipation or IBS are almost inevitable.

Chewing your food allows you to absorb more nutrients from your food too.

Yogis chew their food twenty-four times. Think about that for a moment, each bite is chewed 24 times, then the brain gets its “full” signal in around 20 minutes. We will feel full sooner, and the food is pre-digested in your mouth and will not cause problems in your digestive system.

Another thing is that if you chew twenty-four times, the body gets more information about that food, and that information gets established in your system and in every cell in your body. You will be able to start to understand what is really good, and what is not good for you.

Digestion begins in your mouth. Efficient chewing increases the surface area of foods, affording a thorough breakdown by enzymes.

Saliva has multiple essential functions in relation to the digestive and swallowing process taking place in the upper parts of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It also contains lingual lipase, a fat metabolizing enzyme, which breaks down fat before it reaches the stomach.

If the fat that reaches the stomach is inadequately chewed, then brace yourself for digestion problems! The longer your food stays in touch with your saliva, the better it gets lubricated and this lowers the stress on your esophagus.

Even digesting carbohydrates starts with chewing correctly, as your saliva detaches chemical bonds that connect the starch-containing simple sugars. When you don’t chew well, these enzymes can’t break down starches or digest fats, and this can cause a loss of your energy, because undigested food will feed the bacteria in our large intestine rather than nourishing our body.

If you are rushing to eat or drink, instead of chewing your meal, then this may lead to a sense of dissatisfaction. Mindful eating is about experiencing food more intensely.

We are not just what we eat also what we absorb from what we eat!

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Ayda Ersoy is a nutrition and fitness director at The Diet Doc Hawaii. She can be reached at DietDocHawaii.com, Ayda@DietDocHawaii.com or (808) 276-6892

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