What is it that your mother has always told you? Chew your food and don’t swallow it. There is something to what mom is saying. If you have children, learn here why it is important to teach them to eat slowly.
When we are in a hurry, we rush. At dinnertime, rushing means stuffing your mouth with whatever remains on your plate so that you can get out the door to play or rush off with friends. While your friends may not mind you doing that, your parents will.
Now that we are parents, it’s time to learn the truth about that behavior. Now you can tell your kids what was told to you. Here are just a few reasons why it is good to take your time with your food.
* Better nutrition – When you eat slowly, you give yourself a chance to taste the food and digest it well. One of the things that nutritionists tell those who are trying to lose weight is to chew their food a certain number of times. While you don’t necessarily want to say this to your kids, it’s worth explaining that the body has to work harder to break down the food. And also that chewing more allows your body to feel when it’s really full.
* Better digestion – The body uses enzymes and bacteria to break down food at various stages. There are enzymes in your saliva that begin the process. It is easier to break down smaller pieces of food than larger ones. Fully chewing your food keeps your digestive system from working overtime trying to break it down to a manageable size.
* Less of a choking hazard – When you swallow food whole, you are more likely to cause a blockage to occur in your windpipe or your esophagus. In your windpipe (trachea) your food can be a choking hazard. The only thing that is supposed to be in your windpipe is air. When food gets stuck there, you are unable to breathe. Much of the time, choking is due to swallowing large pieces of food that go down the wrong tube.
* Less chance of heartburn or vomiting – Stomach acid is produced to digest your food. When food is well chewed, the amount of stomach acid needed is small. When large pieces of food are deposited in your stomach, lots more acid is produced. Sometimes it can bubble up back into your esophagus leading to heartburn and reflux. Neither is very pleasant to have.
* Less chance of obesity – When we swallow food instead of chewing, we tend to eat more to feel full. Those brain triggers are fooled into thinking that we are still hungry so we continue to eat. Chewing slowly satisfies both the taste buds and the brain and you benefit from it.
Take the time to chew your food. Tell your kids that their friends will still be there and so will playtime, but they will be healthier also.
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