Digestion Starts In Your Mouth

Celery juice and supplements won’t fix your digestion alone. (Sorry!) Digestion begins in your mouth with mastication - chewing! In our rushed lives many of us take the role of chewing for granted. It is not just about making your food small enough to swallow (though that is important too)! Chewing plays a critical role in your digestive health:

1. Chewing sets the whole digestive train into motion. You are mechanically breaking down your food into smaller more easily digestible particles. You are also coating your food with enzymes that aid in the digestion of the food: amylase for starches and lipase for fats!

2. Chewing and the secretion of said enzymes send messages to the stomach to begin making the proper amount of stomach acid and to the pancreas to secrete enough digestive enzymes and bicarbonate. If you don’t take time to chew, you are already starting your digestion out with a handicap.

3. Chewing makes your digestion much more efficient. Think about it - the more time spent chewing, the more signals sent to the stomach and pancreases to secrete. The more time spent chewing, the smaller the food particles will be when they arrive in the stomach. And the more shewing, the greater the resources available will be to unpack the smaller food particle packages, giving you quicker access to the energy and nutrition and moving it along through the GI sooner.

4. Have you heard the advice “Chew your liquids and drink your solids.” This saying always grossed me out for some reason but it is some of the best digestive advice - especially for you smoothie lovers! Remember a smoothie is still food. If you want access to all the nutrition and energy blended within then you NEED to chew it! If you don’t, you will not secrete the amylase or lipase needed to break it down and extract the nutrients, AND you will have skipped sending a heads up to your stomach and pancreas to begin secreting acid and enzymes!

This weekend I want you to focus on your chewing habits. Are you doing everything you can at step 1 to enable optimal digestion?