Digestion Starts In the Mouth
“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates
There’s no escaping this reality: We are what we eat. This statement means much more than an individual’s physical appearance. Your food choices influence your personality, thought, recovery, and energy levels throughout the day. Proper nutrition is vital to reaching your full physical potential and meeting your goals. You need to nourish your body properly.
However, proper nutrition isn’t just about meeting macros and eating quality foods. It’s about producing the right hormonal responses in the body to food. This can be done through what’s known as food hygiene.
Food hygiene is not just about what you eat it’s about how you eat. It’s really not as complicated as it may sound. Do you sit or stand while you eat? Are you chewing your food 32 times? Are you distracted while eating? The answers to these questions reflect HOW you eat your food.
“Nature will castigate those who don’t masticate.”
― Horace Fletcher
In other words, your body will punish you if you don’t actually chew your food. This may seem like a oversimplification, but weight gain, along with other health problems, can usually be traced back to how an individual eats their food.
The latest research from the Institute of Food Technologists has shown that when participants chewed almonds longer, the smaller particles were better and more quickly absorbed by the body. Further studies conducted by Researchers at Harbin Medical University in China found that participants consumed 11.9 per cent fewer calories, regardless of whether they were slender or obese when they spent more time chewing. They also lost weight, fat and claimed to feel more energetic throughout the day.
Food hygiene is something you can begin to practice today. Start nourishing your body by following these basic tips.
- Chew Your Food – Don’t just chew enough to swallow. Your saliva plays a huge role in breaking down food. Take your time when eating. Start by chewing at least 30 times before swallowing.
- No Liquids – Avoid drinking liquids 15 minutes before or after any meal. Allow your stomach the space and time needed to absorb the nutrients digested from your meal. Don’t use liquids as a replacement for your salivary glands.
- Sit Down – Sitting down can help relax you and aid good digestion.
- Take Ten Deep Breathes – Taking a moment before eating will help put your body in the right state for good digestion.
- Smell Your Food – The simple act of smelling your food will switch your salivary glands on and get your stomach ready for the meal you are about to enjoy.
Remember, the digestion process starts with chewing. Not when the food is in your stomach.
It may take some time for your body to adjust to these food hygiene practices. However, the payoff will come in the form of improved athletic performance, better body composition, and better resiliency both mentally and physically.
Sometimes the key to achieving your fitness goals is about what takes place outside of the gym rather than in it.