Chewing your food better can help protect your body against illness, strengthen your teeth, and provide even more benefits.
How well do you chew your food? Those of us who inhale our meals may want to slow it down; better chewing could do more than just prevent your risk of choking.
There are actually many health benefits that come with chewing your nutritious food. We’ve listed four of them below.
1. PROTECTS YOU FROM ILLNESS
A new study has found that chewing your food can actually protect you from illness by improving your immune system. Researchers found that when you chew, a specific type of immune cell, called Th17, is stimulated.
“Our research shows that, unlike at other barriers, the mouth has a different way of stimulating Th17 cells: not by bacteria but by mastication. Therefore mastication can induce a protective immune response in our gums,” said lead researcher Dr. Joanne Konkel, according to a press release from The University of Manchester.
2. TRIGGERS DIGESTION
The process of chewing increases saliva secretion, which covers your food in enzymes called amylase and lipase. According to mindbodygreen, these enzymes kick off the digestion process of fats and starches within your mouth.
3. ABSORB MORE NUTRIENTS
When food is in smaller pieces, it is easier for your intestines to absorb nutrients from passing particles. On Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website, the osteopathic physician states that chewing also prevents improperly digested food from entering your blood.
4. HELPS STRENGTHEN TEETH
“The bones holding your teeth get a ‘workout’ when you chew,” Dr. Mercola wrote. This practice helps to keep your chompers strong.
Source: Dutzan N, Abusleme L, Bridgeman H, Greenwell-Wild T, Zangerle-Murray T, Fife ME, et al. On-going Mechanical Damage from Mastication Drives Homeostatic Th17 Cell Responses at the Oral Barrier. Immunity. 2016.