Many of us are guilty of eating fast so that we can get on with our busy lives. While eating like Speedy Gonzales does move us to the next activity quickly, it does our bodies more harm than good. So why not practice eating slowly?
Slow eating has a slew of benefits, although it may require time and self-discipline. We share the reasons why you should slow down when eating your meal and the correct way to go about doing it.
What are the benefits of eating slowly?
1. Weight Loss
An increasing number of studies show that eating slower enables you to consume fewer calories. You can lose 20 pounds annually without changing your lifestyle habits.
Why is this? It takes you about 20 minutes for your stomach to feel a stretch and develop a feeling of fullness. You may not have time to realize that you are full if you eat too quickly. Also, you’ll learn to stop eating before you feel full. You should eat slowly if your goal is weight loss.
This reason also compels people to eat slowly. It’s impossible to relish your food if you eat it in a rush. Even if you wish to enjoy sinful dishes and desserts, it’s impossible to savor them if you down them too quickly. You can experience the great taste of these foods, but less of their sinfulness, if you chew them slowly.
3. Improved Digestion
Slow eating translates to better digestion because you chew your food better. Since digestion begins in the mouth, you’ll have less food in your stomach if it (the mouth) breaks down more food.
An added benefit? Fewer gut-related problems. Harvard Health reveals that slowing down eating activates the stretch receptors in the stomach. The Vagus Nerve then connects with the brain to release partially digested food into the gut. Another hormone, cholecystokinin, communicates with leptin, which releases adiposity signals.
These tell your stomach how full it is. Not rushing through your meal will allow the leptin to amplify its signals and enhance the feeling of fullness. You’ll also avoid burping, which isn’t polite in public.
Also, you give your gut a lighter load than you would if you eat quickly. Less fluid will build up in the gut, which allows you to feel less bloated. This news is excellent news for those with sensitive stomachs.
4. Reduced Stress
Eating, when done slowly, is an effective mindfulness exercise. It encourages you to be in the moment instead of worrying about your next activity. Eating more slowly than you usually do will allow you to feel less stressed.
Furthermore, slow eating will allow you to avoid the pace of an active life. That means less fast food, which all of us draw to when we have tight deadlines to meet. Less fast food means fewer weight-related issues.
5. Training in Self-Discipline
Food plays a crucial role in our lives because it’s a primal need. That’s why self-discipline is hard when it comes to food. So, slow eating is the best exercise for self-discipline. You can train yourself to live a healthier life if you eat slowly.
6. Select Better Foods
Taking your time to eat will let you experience the taste of your food. That will allow you to make better food choices. Further, food tastes more exciting and delightful when you chew it slowly. Natural foods like fruits and vegetables are particularly vibrant when you take your time to eat them.
7. Be Sociable
Eating is a social event. We come together with relatives and friends during mealtimes. That’s when we connect, and we do this best when we eat our food slowly.
8. Better Hydration
The muscles in your body feel energized with proper hydration. The kidneys work more efficiently as well. Your water consumption will increase when you eat your food slowly.
In one study, the University of Rhode Island found that women who ate slowly drank more water than those who ate quickly, prompting the idea that slow eating may be the key to better hydration. The university also found that slow food has a direct impact on food intake.
How to Practice Slow Eating
So, how do you force yourself not to give in to the tendency to gobble your food? There are a few things that you can do.
1. Eat with Those Who Eat Slowly
Parents tend to encourage their kids to eat fast to save time for other activities. Siblings then force themselves to race through their meals to outdo each other. Thus, dining with slow eaters can make them feel awkward. Watching slow eaters can influence fast ones to take their time to savor their food. Indeed, the environment changes our habits.
2. Minimize Distractions
Eat at quiet places where no one will bother you to do this, that or the other. You will pay attention to your food. The silence will allow you to taste your food and better appreciate it.
3. Eat High-Fiber Foods
Fruits and whole wheat take a longer time to break down in the stomach. That enhances your feeling of fullness for a longer time and encourages you to eat less. You will find them more palatable if you eat them slowly.
4. Use Utensils Wisely
Put your utensils down between bites. Use small ones whenever possible. Doing these will prompt you to take your time with your food.
5. Be Deliberate
Slowly eating your food can be difficult if you are in the habit of going through meals like a torpedo. Make slowing down purposeful. Set a minimum number of bites to chew and count to ten in-between each bite.
Eating slowly has definite benefits, and it comes with determined, deliberate practice. Take your time with your food, and notice an overall difference in your health.