Do you chew your food?

Written by Dr Alison Kamffer

Do you ever think about how well you chew your food? Few of us give it more than a passing thought unless we have a toothache, but in fact chewing is important,

as it is the first step in digesting your food.

Chewing breaks down the foods into smaller particles so that it can be digested more easily lower down.

Saliva contains amylase, an enzyme that breaks down carbohydrate, and lipase that begins fat digestion. It also lubricates the food before it passes down the oesophagus, helping avoid heartburn. Large particles of food entering the intestine are not completely broken down, and may lead to gaseousness and discomfort, as well as loss of nutrients.

The longer you chew, the longer it will take you to eat a meal, and it has been shown that slow eaters tend to eat less. It also takes around 20 minutes for the brain to tell the stomach that it is full, so by eating slowly you will allow this information to arrive before overdoing it!