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Do You Eat Your Food Too Quickly? Time to Take Some Time with These Top 10 Tips


Did you know that it takes some twenty minutes for your body's systems to register that you are actually full? So take it more slowly to give your body and your appestat (the hypothalamus) the chance to know there is just no more space. Try to stop eating before you think you are full. Taking more time and care when eating a meal is important to your whole digestive system. Take time to feel the textures, switch on your taste buds and enjoy the flavor and aroma of what you are eating with no big rush. Not only a good trick for losing weight, eating more slowly can even be a personal statement against the whole fast food culture. Remember that everything that fast food is, slow food isn't. Isn't that wonderful? But it is a habit that has to be practised – it will not happen overnight If you can slow down and start really tasting your food, you will probably find that you begin to appreciate well-prepared food like never before.

Take these steps – one at a time – for learning to eat more slowly and improving your whole digestive system.

1. When you think you are hungry, check to see if all you really want is a glass of water. Many people who say they feel hungry are actually dehydrated and need to quench their thirst instead. Often, we will eat out of boredom. Use smaller utensils as the less you can fit onto your fork or your spoon, the slower you will eat. Chopsticks are another idea to slow down the pace!

2. Try to be relaxed at meal times – yes I know that is not easy when you have young children and others demanding attention so that you spend your meal times jumping up to fetch and carry - but if you are less than relaxed, your digestion will suffer.

3. In the evening, try not to eat too close to bedtime so that you have at least a 2 hour gap.

4. As protein takes considerable energy to digest, it is best if you can eat more protein earlier in the day and less in the evening to give your digestive system a break. In fact, your biggest meal should be your breakfast to kick start your day with smaller, lighter meals for the rest of the day. And yes, I know this is not easy to achieve in this modern world when often breakfast is a cup of coffee on the run.

5. Chew each mouthful up to a 100 times. What? So many times! Start with a low number like 10, and over time work your way up to 20 and then more. This slows you down, helps ease digestion, and even sets you up for the next step. By chewing slowly and for longer, more saliva is created in your mouth, helping digestion with its starch-digesting enzymes as well as protecting your teeth from decay. While this is easy to achieve for certain food items such as fruit, it can be harder with meat. But it is even more important to try and reduce meat to a liquid in your mouth. Can you believe that there are neuro-receptors in your mouth ready to tell your brain what to expect in the way of food making its way down.

6. Chewing fatty foods well informs the liver that it needs to produce extra bile, with the gall bladder providing a backup if necessary. I have a friend with no gall bladder and she just cannot eat fatty pieces of bacon for example because her liver cannot produce enough bile to cope with and digest the fat. There is no back up system for her.

7. Don't be tempted to reach for food as a way to calm you. Instead drink some water. But not too much because drinking liquids (while eating) dilutes stomach acid and those vital digestive enzymes. Instead, make sure to drink plenty of water in between your meals.

8. We need stomach acid to sterilize our food and to break down protein into amino acids so they can be absorbed into the bloodstream The more complicated your meals, the more different digestive enzymes you need. Keep it simple as much as possible.

9. If you can, eat easily digestible foods first before the more complex ones. Follow this plan for better digestion so there is no traffic jam blocking the way to your stomach. Liquids first followed by fruit, smoothies, soups, veggies, beans, grains, starches and ending up with meat, fish or poultry. Takes some getting used to.

10. Healthier food at mealtimes, eaten with care and attention, will make you feel good and less likely to overeat. It is time to reverse that rush rush lifestyle by just taking the time to eat more slowly. Our gut is not called our second brain for nothing. Help keep it healthy and functioning well with a less stressful, more healthy way of living.