Be Fit For Life

with Ellen Cohen-Kaplan

Eat slowly and reap the benefits

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Maybe you heard this when you were growing up: “Don’t wolf down your food!” Or then again, maybe that was just me who heard it.  Many studies and signs from my body, like indigestion have taught me the benefits of eating more slowly . There are many reasons to chew your food well. First and foremost, digestion actually begins in your mouth with the digestive enzymes contained within your saliva. The  more time your food spends getting chewed, the more time the enzymes have the chance to do the preliminary digestion that aids in nutrient absorption. When food isn’t properly pulverized by chewing, larger fragments add to bloating, gas and acid reflux. Secondly, chewing thoroughly gives your stomach a chance to signal that food is coming, thus increasing the amount of  gastric juices to prepare for what’s coming down the pike. Third, your brain takes time to register satiety, and savoring the tastes, smells, textures and flavors of food helps you feel more full. This results in the desired effect of eating less and foregoing second helpings. Since many of our meals are eaten with others, try to have a conversation (not with your mouth full), and slow down the whole process. You can also shoot for putting down your fork between bites.  Deliberately try to be the last one to finish when eating in a social group or out at a restaurant.  Eating mindfully means  eliminating distractions, such as TV, reading or driving. The more you multi-task while eating, the less your food takes center stage and you will underestimate the amount of your food intake . What’s the ideal number of minutes it should take to eat a meal? If you guessed 20 minutes, that’s the absolute minimum! Thirty minutes or longer are even more desirable to give each part of our digestive system (that includes our brain for registering fullness) to totally appreciate and register the bounty that we have just enjoyed. Read on for more details at this website:  http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=963

By now you’ve likely heard that being grateful for basic things in your life increases happiness. If you’re already in a habit of being thankful for meaningful relationships, a warm bed, and a comfortable home, add plentiful and healthy food to your list. Even if you don’t say a blessing out loud before you eat, get in the habit of appreciating every bite.

 

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