You may exercise regularly and watch your diet. Yet, things don’t seem to work as expected. Sometimes, whether you eat a healthy or unhealthy diet it doesn’t seem to make a difference and you feel bloated.

The problem may lie in the way you chew your food. Like most people in these “time-deprived” days, you may rush through your meals, eating on the go. This is actually not good for your health and wellbeing. You may end up with serious digestive issues because you are not getting enough nutrition from the poorly chewed food you’re eating. You need to pay attention to not only what you eat, but also how you eat it.

This is why it helps to chew your food thoroughly.

1. Helps the absorption of nutrients and energy

Digestion starts in the mouth. Therefore, you need to chew your food thoroughly and break it down into tiny particles. If you do not, your body is unable to absorb nutrients and energy from the food you eat. Let the digestive enzymes in your saliva help to turn your food into liquid before you swallow. When this happens, your body can absorb nutrients faster and more efficiently. Count 20-30 chews before you swallow.

2. Breaks down fats

The longer you keep food in the mouth, the longer and more thoroughly the digestive enzymes in the saliva do their work. These enzymes help to break down fats, among other things. This aids the digestive process and makes it easier for the food to pass through the esophagus.

3. Helps avoid digestive problems and weight gain

When you don’t chew your food thoroughly, you may suffer bloating, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, gas, belching, and heartburn. You could also suffer headaches, tiredness, and irritability, and might even put on weight. In a 2011 study, researchers at Harbin Medical University in China found that when their subjects chewed their food thoroughly, they consumed 11.9 percent fewer calories than those who wolfed down their food. Those who chewed longer also lost weight and reported feeling more energetic.

4. Helps avoid throat infections and choking

When you don’t chew food properly to render it soft and almost liquid, it may scratch your throat when you swallow. This could lead to throat infections. Moreover, since chewing, breathing, and swallowing are intricately connected, large food particles could lead to choking. Be careful and chew well.

5. Helps reduce stress

When you engage in mindful eating, concentrating on the food in front of you, your mind relaxes. You enjoy the food, with its different colors, tastes, and textures. Better still, if you eat in company, then the meal becomes a social event at which to relate to family and friends. It becomes an occasion to connect and enjoy the company of others undistracted by your daily chores and cares.

Final thoughts

To get the most out of your food, start the digestive process right by chewing your food properly. Trying to skip or glossing over this first step of digestion may lead to serious digestive issues. Enjoy your food. Practice mindful eating and let the food you eat nourish your body. Make mealtimes a time to appreciate your food and bond with family and friends.