By Carol Heckman, RN, CHNP, CNC, MH

This month, we’ve been informing you about holistic approaches for oral health.

So, I thought I’d pass along a free and important health tip I share with all of my clients (as the first step in their wellness plans): Chew Your Food!

It’s so simple, but proper chewing is often overlooked. We’re all guilty of eating on the run and “inhaling” our food – even though many of our parents hounded “Chew your food,” but (likely) never really explained why.

When I go over this point on a client’s wellness plan, some think I’m joking. I know it sounds silly, but I’m very serious about how vital it is to your health to thoroughly chew your food. And, research continues to support this practice.

How chewing improves health

Having digestion troubles? Start chewing. Chewing is how food digestion begins: it starts with the stimulation of saliva production and digestive motility. This process is called mastication. If you properly chew food, when it reaches your stomach and small intestine (where the majority of digestion occurs) the rest of your food can be digested with ease.

Studies show that chewing your food well aids in reducing acid reflux and bloating (Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics Journal), and maintaining weight (Obesity Society Research Journal). Consider following the old adage: “Drink your solids and chew your liquid,” meaning chew your food to a liquid state to assist in break-down and digestion.

Feeling tired?  Start chewing. The more you chew, the more energy you’ll get from your food. In a 2013 Purdue University study, participants were monitored to assess the relationship between how many times a food source is chewed (e.g., 10, 25, and 40 times) and the amount of energy lost by the body. The participants who chewed food the most times retained more energy!

Feeling Run Down?  Start chewing. In an ongoing study by the University of Manchester, published in 2017, scientists are showing the process of chewing stimulates a specific immune cell in the mouth – which helps protect us from bacterial and fungal infections.

Since oral inflammation is linked to poor health and disease, chewing is an important immune support available to us all.

Want more insight into your health? We can help. Schedule your health consultation with Carol today.

Carol is a Registered Nurse, a traditionally Certified Natural Health Practitioner, a Master Herbalist, and a Certified Nutritional Consultant.