Digestion Starts in the Mouth

dreamstime_s_684917During a person=s lifetime, more than 30 tons of food pass through the digestive tract.

It is important to chew food thoroughly before swallowing it because digestion begins in the mouth. Enzymes are able to alkalize food, break down toxins and activate microbial activity.

These enzymes in the saliva are responsible for breaking down the starches, proteins and fats into smaller molecules that the cells in the body can use for energy. When food is chewed properly, the enzymes in the saliva have the opportunity to break down these foods and make it taste better (especially starches) and requires less work for the stomach.

The digestive tract is vitally important for total body health and must be healthy or the rest of the body suffers. It is 25-30 feet long, starts at the mouth and ends at the rectum. The gut=s function includes digesting food into microscopic particles and absorption and conversion of these particles into energy. The digestive tract has three phases: breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating waste. Digestion is a complex process turning food we eat into the energy we need to survive.

Additionally, research has shown how chewing can prompt the nervous system to relay information to the gastrointestinal system to expedite the process of digestion. For example, stimulation of the taste receptors can signal the stomach lining to produce hydrochloric acid that helps in the breakdown of protein. Additionally, chewing signals the pancreas to prepare to secrete enzymes and bicarbonate into the lumen of the small intestines. The process of chewing also activates signaling messages to the rest of the gastrointestinal system that triggers it to begin the entire digestive process.

Yet, the contribution of chewing to aid digestion does not even stop there. Chewing helps strengthening of jaw muscles (stomach meridian begins in the face), helps complexion by increasing circulation and calms the nervous system – slow chewing is centering and grounding and promotes a more balanced/relaxed state.  Read more…