Chew Your Food

I am going to share with you possibly the most important piece of advice you will ever receive about nutrition. This piece of advice is not about supplementation. It is not about what you should be eating. However this piece of advice affects every other dietary choice that you make.

Are you ready?

Chew your food!

Chewing is the first step of the digestive process. The fancy word for it is mastication. What it means is that what you put in your mouth is ground up into smaller pieces and mixed with some digestive enzymes to begin the digestive process.

What is the digestive process? To understand the process, it's best to first understand the purpose. The purpose of digestion is to extract beneficial materials from what you eat and expel the rest. This process involves breaking down your food into smaller and smaller pieces. When some of those pieces are small enough they are absorbed into your bloodstream. Other components, like insoluble fiber, continue on through your intestines and help to expel other waste products and to clean the surfaces of your intestines.

So what does this have to do with chewing? If you do not properly to your food, what you have eaten will go through your digestive system as large pieces of food. You do not have teeth anywhere else in your body. After you swallow your food, there are no other opportunities to break up large pieces of food. The acid from your stomach and the enzymes from your small intestine will only be able to act on the exposed surfaces. Chewing properly is the only way to grind up your food so that it is small enough to allow the rest of your digestive system to extract as many of the available nutrients as possible.

So the next time you eat, put a little thought into the first step of digestion. Chew your food.

Dave Saunders is a certified nutritional educator, wellness coach and author. He is also the host of a weekly, nation-wide telephone lecture on health and nutrition. For additional information, please visit or email Dave at [email protected]

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