Mindful Eating & Digestion - Is There A Link?
This article has been researched and written by Arelang Naturals® in-house writers.
Does mindful eating help with better digestion of food? Here’s what we found out.
How many times have you finished packets of chips while watching your favourite show, and not realised how much you’ve gorged? This, in simple words, is called mindless eating. This concept rises from psychological behaviour that is charged by distraction.
Eating too much too fast is a vice many of us are guilty of having, but this seemingly harmless activity can cause many issues in the body: be it bloating or gas, heartburn or indigestion and poor gut health, increased food digestion time leading to obesity, cardiovascular illnesses, high cholesterol levels, higher risk of developing diabetes, eating disorders and even mental health problems. The list is much longer but we don't want to scare you off!
In recent times, the word “mindfulness” has gained enough momentum, and there’s a huge reason why. Mindfulness means being present in the moment, and Mindful Eating is the practice of paying attention and bringing awareness to every bite of food you take in. Believe it or not, mindful eating helps reduce stress as it tricks your mind by encouraging you to focus on your food, thereby diverting your mind from the stress of the world, reducing your anxiety, which helps reduce cortisol levels in the body, allowing the digestive juices to correctly do its work. See how the circle already leads to better digestion?
Mindful eating has abundant health benefits. Paying attention and intention while consuming food (ideally easy to digest food) ensures a proper food digestion process along with holistic nutritional benefits. The process of digestion begins with the cephalic phase, which is even before we put food in our mouths. It involves the brain seeing, smelling & anticipating food. Just like when you smell a cake baking in the oven that makes your mouth water. With this, the brain is informing the digestive tract and the stomach to prepare itself for a meal. Consequently, the body begins to prepare for this food from salivation to release of pancreatic and stomach enzymes. Studies show that as much as 30-40% of the total digestive response is due to the cephalic phase. So if we don’t pay attention to the food and experience it through our senses even before we even begin to eat, we are not fully aware of what we’re eating. Ergo, the brain has not signalled the digestive tract to get prepared for the meal. And hence, we are not taking the full benefits and nutrient absorption from the digestive response.
Research has also proven that taste and enjoyment go hand in hand with nutrient absorption. If you’re following the latest diet fad while eating “healthy food” that you don’t particularly like or enjoy, it is possible that you may not even be absorbing the nutritive benefits from it, no matter how healthy or nutritive the food is! On the other hand, if you are eating and savouring food that is deemed “unhealthy” by the health police, you may still reap more nutritional benefits from this food. That being said, don’t reach out for that bag of chips now! Try to find healthier foods that you enjoy. Eat the dark chocolate that is packed with antioxidants, eat the fresh cheese from the farm and seek pleasure in what you consume.
Here are a few tips that your folks may have probably already tried drilling into your through your childhood days:
- Focus on your food - by putting your phone away or eating at a table and not in front of a screen/TV or newspaper.
- Start to pay attention to how your food looks, smells, tastes and feels in your mouth.
- Chew well - 32 times may be a number for a reason.
- You are not a garbage truck! Keep a check on when you are full and stop eating, even if there is more on your plate.
- Try conversations with your family at the dinner table. Nothing too heavy - happy moments of the day perhaps.
Even though these little tips sound simple and straightforward, you may be surprised at how difficult you will find it in the beginning, especially when we are surrounded by technology and the habit of multi-tasking during meals.
Conversely, the same effect works unfavourably when we are forced to take pills and powders that we gulp down with a whole lot of water. So when you want to absorb the correct nutrition in the body, why not take it in a format that is more enjoyable, satisfactory and beneficial? Here’s what you need to know:
- Rekindle for Men: As the years pass by, men have less time to focus on what goes in their bodies, which can lead to higher chances of reduced testosterone and libido. This is a consequence of poor nutritional intake. Rekindle For Men Dark Chocolate Bars are not only delicious, but also have great nutritional benefits that help kick start testosterone in the body to feel young and energetic again.
- Rekindle for Women: Women don’t have it easy when it comes to their menstrual cyles, menopause, period cramps and mood swings. What may be surprising for many of you is that this is linked to a poor diet and nutritional balance in the body. Presenting Rekindle for Women: yummy and delectable dark chocolate bars, made of the highest quality plant-based ingredients, that help with estrogen depletion in the system.
- Replenish With Greens: Vital minerals and vitamins that help build immunity and proper functioning of the system. These delectable raw mango and alphonso flavoured gummies provide more than a bowl of greens!
- Replenish With Phytos: Now that we have taken care of the greens, it's as important to eat your coloured plants and vegetables. Here come the wild forest berry-flavoured gummies, that are toothsome, and have the added benefit of fighting disease-causing pathogens that our body is exposed to everyday.
All this culminates into a vital question: How to digest food faster to avoid the adverse impact of a slowed digestive process? Along with the nutritional solutions mentioned above, eat mindfully and ensure you ask yourself, “Am I even hungry?” before you pop something into your mouth. If the answer is yes, try and maximise your diet with easy to digest food such as white rice, bananas, sweet potatoes, apple sauce, chicken, salmon etc. Chewing your food properly, being “aware” of what you consume and keeping good gut health will keep you healthy and ensure you benefit with what you consume.
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