The importance of chewing your food is often overlooked but properly chewing your food is one of the best and easiest ways to improve your digestion and prevent bloating and gas that is associated with poor digestion of carbohydrates. With so many people experiencing digestive problems, especially when feeling stressed or from eating on the run taking the time to chew your food slowly can have a massive impact on optimizing digestion and preventing digestive problems such as sibo, leaky gut, dysbiosis, nutrient malabsorption, food sensitivities, indigestion, bloating and so much more.
Benefits of chewing your food
Chewing your food is the first mechanical step in digestion and super important as saliva contains the enzyme amylase which begins the chemical breakdown of a very difficult to digest starch called amylose. Taking the time to thoroughly chew and mix your food with saliva until the food is liquified in the mouth will allow for sufficient surface area for the salivary enzyme to amylase to begin the breakdown of carbohydrates.
Aiming to chew your food for a minimum of 20-30 bites while taking the time to enjoy your food will signal the brain and digestive organs to prepare for digestion and the release of digestive juices. If you notice any amount of undigested food in your stool this indicates a need to chew your food more slowly and thoroughly or use additional digestive enzymes for support.
Now chewing food enough symptoms
Bloating is a very common symptom of sibo and incomplete carbohydrate digestion that can be due to not chewing food properly. If there is a large amount of undigested carbohydrates in the small intestine this provides an excess of fuel for our gut bacteria to feed and ferment upon which then results in excess gas that causes bloating and indigestion. By chewing your food this helps to ensure the breakdown of carbohydrates so that these carbohydrates are broken down into small enough particles so that they can be absorbed by the body and not fermented upon but gut bacteria.
Leaky gut, food sensitivities and carbohydrate malabsorption from now chewing food properly
When carbohydrates or any food for that matter are not properly broken down the large undigested food can impact the gut lining and contribute to the gut lining becoming leaky.
A gut lining that is leaky lets through larger food particles. Because these large food particles are not properly broken down the body does not recognize the food as a nutrient that can be utilized and instead thinks the undigested food is a foreign invader (pathogen) and instead mounts an immune response against that particular food that is not properly broken down.
When the body creates antibodies to a specific food, that food will then become problematic and a source of inflammation due to the immune response when that food is eaten. Taking the time to slowly chew your food is the first step in preventing food sensitivities and leaky gut from developing by helping to ensure appropriate digestion and breakdown of foods into smaller particles.
Salivary amylase function
The enzyme amylase is needed to breakdown the more difficult to digest starch called amylose which is found in lower glycemic foods such as basmati rice, pasta, wheat, corn, oats, barley, most potatoes and bananas. These foods are difficult to digest and absorb if there is a deficiency in the amylose enzyme.
If these foods that are high in the difficult to digest starch amylose are not properly broken down they will provide fuel for bacteria associated with SIBO to metabolize and ferment upon which contributes to digestive symptoms associated with SIBO and amylose malabsorption.
Saliva contains the enzyme amylase which helps to breakdown amylose but the salivary enzyme needs time to work along with surface area to work upon which is why chewing your food slowly is so important especially if you notice that these carbohydrate foods that are high in amylose are problematic for you.
Incomplete digestion of carbohydrates can contribute to a myriad of digestive symptoms. One of the best free ways to improve your digestion and absorption of carbohydrates is to sit down, enjoy your meal and chew your food properly. Swallowing your food without chewing can lead to digestive symptoms ranging from bloating, indigestion, heartburn, poor absorption of food and much more
The addition of digestive enzymes can be very beneficial for optimizing digestion and preventing bloating and the overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. If you know that you eat to quickly, on the run or when stressed out the first step is to sit down, take a couple of deep breaths to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system required for digestion and to slowly chew your food. Your digestive system will be thanking you!