Avoid the Chunky Swallow! How to improve your digestion with one extended step.

Stephanie Bloom

15 January, 2022

Digestion is one of the most essential jobs of the human body. Without it, we would not survive.
In our fast-paced world, often eating is just a chore. It is something we must do in between meetings, commuting and social activities. It is not something we savor. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics in 2020, Men and Women spend just 1.08 and 1.05 hours eating and drinking respectively. That means we consume all of the needed nutrition in about an hour a day. If you adhere to the common three meals a day, that means you are start to finish invested for only 20 minutes.
Our food preparation and clean up takes us 41 minutes a day for men and 89 minutes a day for women. Compare this with our 3 hours and 30 minutes of watching TV for men and nearly 3 hours of TV for women, and you can begin to see that average Americans don’t value preparing and cleaning up from making their own food.
The odd thing about this is that according to a study published in Cell Metabolism in 2015, more than half of adults eat throughout 15 hours a day or longer! This means we eat all day long, we are not preparing or cleaning it up, and we are only chewing our food at the bare minimum. This just doesn’t even sound healthy!
So why is this relevant? As a matter of mechanics, the digestion process starts before you even eat.
Our salivary glands start producing saliva when we see or smell food as they are part of the “involuntary nervous system”, the autonomic nervous system. This is the same sort of involuntary we face with our fight or flight response; it’s just something our bodies do automatically when presented with external factors.
So why is it that this saliva is important? Well, this saliva contains the enzymes we need to break down carbohydrates, but it also provides lubrication as it’s mixed with our food to form a ‘bolus’ which travels down our esophagus and continues the process of digestion. When we don’t have enough saliva we are setting up our digestion system for undue stress. The entire function of the digestion system is to take the food we eat and break it down into its chemical components so our cells can use it to keep us alive.
When we don’t take the time to chew and lubricate our food fully, we are making our digestion system work too hard. This can result in things like gas, bloating, abdominal pain and between 5 and 20 POUNDS of waste left to rot in your system.
Chewing is a free and easy way to improve your digestion and benefit your overall health. A general rule of thumb, attributed to Dr. Paul Bragg of the famed Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, instructs us to “chew our liquids and drink our foods”. This means that we need to consume liquids very slowly and to liquify our foods in our mouths before we even swallow. These two actions set your digestion system up for success.
Approaching eating differently can have drastic and positive impact on your health. Invest time and effort into activating your salivary glands. Take a deep smell of the food you are about to consume, and a moment to be thankful for it as your glands start to do their job. Chew your food until there is nothing left to chew, then swallow. Increase the time you are consuming from 20 minutes to 30 or 40 minutes by concentrating on the mechanical process of tearing, grinding and liquifying.
This is a free way to level up your health and with practice will become second nature. It will force you to slow down and relax a bit, which is something we all need.

Unblock comments
DuckDuckGo blocked these Facebook comments
We blocked Facebook from tracking you when the page loaded. If you unblock these comments, Facebook will know your activity. Learn More

Latest articles

Share on