Health Benefits of Eating Slowly

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Wake up. Get showered. Get dressed. Got meeting in morning. No time for breakfast. Grab coffee on way to work. Chase up emails, calls etc. Grab a doughnut from corner shop on way to next appointment. Drop by fast food restaurant on way back for quick bite. Get back to office. Start admin work. Pick up kids from school. Too tired to cook-check frozen meals in freezer…

Sound familiar? Today’s’ hectic lifestyle is that many of us rush through the day, doing one mindless task after another with no time for anything … and when we do grab a bite to eat, it hardly hits our sides. Fast lifestyle and fast food is gradually killing us, making us stressed out and unhealthy. A major reason to start slowing things down, especially when we are eating.

WEIGHT LOSS
The foremost benefit of eating slowly, as has been backed up by research, is a reduction of food intake, which in turn contributes to weight loss and many weight loss related diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, high cholesterol and some cancers. Our brain takes about 20 minutes before it lets us know we are full, so obviously, if we gorge the food down we are ignoring our hunger and satiety signals, and thus, eating more than we need. On the other hand, slowing down and taking time makes us more aware of these signals, realize we’re full and stop eating. Results from a Japanese study found that subjects eating slowly had a lower body mass index compared to subjects eating faster.

DIABETES AND METABOLIC SYNDROME

Some studies discovered that eating fast is linked to insulin resistance, which can contribute to developing diabetes and heart disease. Many people are unaware that they even have insulin resistance. As mentioned before, fast eating may also play a role in obesity and its related diseases as well as metabolic syndrome. So by simply slowing it down a notch or two could have significant benefits to your health.

IMPROVED DIGESTION
Slowing down lets your body start to process the food before it even hits your mouth. Slowing down increases your awareness so you start to smell and see more, immediately releasing important enzyme excreting saliva in your mouth. As you start chewing, your body uses the enzymes and teeth to break food into smaller pieces and sends it to the gut. If the first process is done well, your body will have optimal nutrient absorption and efficient digestion without any gastrointestinal upsets and heart burn. This is due to the food being smaller, more easily metabolised. All this contributes to a better all round health.

ENJOY FOOD
As already mentioned, when you slow down, your awareness increases. The aromas scenting through the air, the bubbles melting on the cheese, the arrangement of the fruit, the textures of the fillings….Does this grab your attention? It ultimately heightens your taste buds and you end up enjoying the food more and releasing those happy hormones!

CHOOSE QUALITY
By eating slowly you are aware of some of the attributes of food, as just discussed. This means you might be less inclined to order ‘junk’ food and substitute this for something more wholesome and nutritious. Fast eaters don’t really taste the food so are not aware how the food really tasted. As creatures of habits, this means they would order the same thing over and over again, not changing any eating behaviors for the positive.

TAKE A MOMENT TO STRESS LESS
Eating is a time we often spend with loved ones, friends and family. Get together, catch up, talk, enjoy the food and de-stress. If you are by yourself the same applies. Take a moment to relax, unwind and think about nothing…. except eating.

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