Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Do You Need Thirty Chews?

Few of us count the number of times we chew before swallowing a morsel of food (and those who do aren’t much fun at dinner parties). Still, the age-old question remains: Can swallowing half-chewed chunks of food harm your digestive system? The answer, it turns out, is fairly sensible. You should chew your food until it becomes an easily swallowable, broken-down paste. (One rule of thumb is that the texture shouldn’t be recognizable. For example, if your potatoes still have skin on them and your broccoli still has a stalk attached, they’re not ready to swallow.)

Basic chewing has several benefits. First, it triggers activity in other parts of your digestive system, like your stomach, preparing them for the work ahead. It also helps the rest of your digestion work more smoothly, because your digestive system doesn’t need to struggle to extract the nutrients from large, tough chunks of food. Finally, chewing forces you to eat more slowly, which can reduce the chance that you’ll choke or overeat, and improves your mealtime enjoyment (and dinnertime popularity). However, there’s no reason to get obsessive about it. For example, the infamous motherly advice to count
30 chews will turn all but the most overcooked steak into something not unlike a wad of pulp from a paper mill—and who wants to swallow that?

Incidentally, extreme chewing was the foundation of a wildly popular Victorian-era diet. Horace Fletcher (also known as “The Great Masticator”) became a millionaire by championing obsessive chewing as a way to avoid constipation and other digestive ills. His strict advice was to chew each mouthful more than 30 times over the course of a half minute, and then tilt your head back to let the result trickle down your throat. You were to spit out any remaining chunks. The side effects included long meal times, dramatic weight loss, and a sore jaw.

Source of Information : Oreilly - Your Body Missing Manual

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