Why is it so important to chew your food?

You might be surprised to learn how important chewing food properly really is and how many functions chewing affects. Chewing your food properly is essential for adequate digestion. Meals should be eaten sitting down, in a relaxed environment to ensure that food is sufficiently chewed.


Chewing is the first step in digestion. Chewing helps the stomach metabolise (process) food by breaking larger food particles into smaller fragments. Chewing also increases saliva production so that it can be swallowed without aggravating the oesophagus. If food is not chewed properly larger particles enter the digestive tract causing digestive problems such as gas, bloating, constipation, food reactions, headaches and lowered energy levels.


As you chew your food more digestive enzymes are produced. These help to breakdown food further to assist digestion. The process of chewing also triggers the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, this further aids digestion, by regulating the pH to increase acidity levels assisting with food breakdown.


Breaking down food into smaller particles means that it is easier for your body to absorb a greater amount of nutrients (such as vitamins and minerals) from the food you are eating.

Portion Control

The more you chew your food, the longer it will take to finish your meal. In general it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to signal to your stomach that it is full. Therefore if you are eating slower, it is less likely that you will over-eat.

Nourish the gut lining

Chewing increases production of saliva which contains epithelial growth factor (EGF), a polypeptide that stimulates growth and repair of epithelial tissue. Thoroughly chewing your food increases production of this EGF, nourishing the gut. 

Reduces the risk of bacterial overgrowth

Food particles that are not properly broken down can cause bacterial overgrowth and increased fermentation in the gut, leading to conditions such as indigestion, bloating, increased gas and constipation.

Chew on This!

So how many times should you chew your food for adequate digestion? 
According to studies food should be chewed about 32 times, foods that are harder to chew, such as steak and nuts may need up to 40 chews per mouthful. For foods that are softer such as mashed potato and watermelon you can get away with chewing just 5-10 times. 

Can you test how well you're chewing food?

Did you know that the Essential Digestive Stool Analysis can provide you with information on whether your food is being chewed well? This test can tell you whether there are sufficient levels of digestive enzymes to help with food breakdown into carbohydrates, proteins and fats, and whether your bowel acidity (bowel pH) is optimal for digestion.  Any presence of bacterial overgrowth can also be monitored by this stool test.

Order an Essential Digestive Stool Analysis today and learn if your chewing may be affecting your overall gut health.

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