We are all rushing through life like there is no tomorrow.
Speed is time equals money relates to the demands of a modern world. We all know that taking your nutritional time has benefits, and in my world of coaching, eating slowly is a habitual change I will tackle.
The effectiveness of success often lies in taking a simplified approach, and this also is also applies to how we eat. Of course, what we eat can play a principal role in our daily diet but let’s not make things more complicated than they are already. I would like to take the benefits of eating slowly heads-on as a first step when you struggle getting back in shape.
Digestion does not start with taking the first bite; this process first ignites in your brain. Receptors receive information through the visual and nasal channels are sending a signal to the brain that food is arriving. Triggered by this, the brain automatically releases a stream of neurotransmitters through the nervous system to indicate that food is on the way.
The process of releasing enzymes to break down the anticipated nutrient stream starts even before you take the first bite.
But like with a lot of processes, things take time to become effective.
Filling up your car with petrol is a controlled process where you, once accustomed to the process, don’t speed up adding the nozzle into the tank and yank the spring-loaded clip until it does not go any further. We pay the price when moments of spillage arrive. It is merely an example that taking things slowly and in control benefits of your eating habits.
The same is how we eat and, in particular, the speed from having a spoonful of vegetables entering our mouth. Saliva starts to accumulate in your mouth as soon as the first streams of enzymes are ready to break down the food. Your jaws start to ‘warm up’.
The entrances to your nose and lungs automatically shut down well before the chewed and salivated blob of food (called the bolus) moves down the oesophagus (connection tube between throat and stomach) into your chemical processing chamber.
But aside from the above processes, even during this time span from solid to flowing down towards the stomach can make a huge difference in almost everything related to satiety levels, weight loss and how it improves nutrient intake. As the title says, eating slowly without distractions is where a lot of the magic happens. It may even be a prime transformation strategy when keen to lose some weight.
Why eating slowly helps?
When people take on a slow-eating approach, they tend to become more nutrient-aware.
The food choices suddenly are pushed forward because you take notice of what you put into your body. That extra 2-3 second is all it takes to get your brain fired up and identifying the content of your nutrients of choice. It may attune your emotional eating habits into more sustainable eating habits. It can avoid going into a feeding autopilot.
GI Tract hormones
The GastroIntestinal (GI) tract is the long tube that runs from your mouth down to your anus. In between these import and export holes, numerous digestive and metabolic processes are taking place to extract the nutrients from your food and collecting waste.
When eating slowly and mindfully, it gives the GI tract to catch up when the mere signal that food is arriving and set all processes in place. Eating faster may cause some blockage, a traffic jam, or not getting all the nutrients accurately out of the food.
Nervous System Benefits
Also known as meal meditation, your nervous systems play a pivotal role in the whole process. When eating slowly, these systems get ample time to send out much-needed neurotransmitters to the various organs. In addition, it stimulates the release of hormones and enzymes, essential for digestion.
The sensation of what you eat and are mindful of how the food makes you feel hugely benefit hunger and fullness queues. Eating in a more controlled manner can calm you down.
The first of the macronutrients to be used for energy, carbohydrates breakdown starts in the mouth. An enzyme called amylase, released through saliva, breaks down the carbohydrates before being transported to the stomach.
When eating slower, it amplifies carbohydrates breaking down into glucose in the mouth. When eating faster, digestive carbs are chunkier before entering the stomach as amylase cannot do its job optimally.
You will feel full quicker
The switch from stuffed to satisfied is one of the benefits when taking a slower approach and enjoying a meal. There is a natural delay between the hormones indicating that we are satiated and the brain acknowledging this.
By slowing down, the mechanisms between the satiety hormones, such as Leptin, and the brain’s hypothalamus will be much more effective. Aiming to eat to an 80% satisfied level (not going for 100%) has added benefits.
By taking your time, this is one of the major benefits of eating slowly.
Time for your brain to catch up
Connected to earlier topics, part of your brain – called the Executive System – will have enough time to sort, analyse and send out appropriate messages “down below”. Speed and rapid frequency is not the brain’s friend when it comes to hunger cues and satiety levels. It is your brain that controls the whole caloric intake process. By treating this part with dignity and respect, the rest will flow.
Controlling Insulin Response
When we eat, the pancreas excretes the hormone insulin. This chemical compound ensures that nutrients are transported to the cells to make energy. When we eat slowly, insulin release happens in a more controlled way. We prevent a tsunami of epic proportions from occurring. Increased releases of insulin can lead to insulin resistance – a cause of Type 2 diabetes.
Control of Cortisol
When eating quickly, we often trigger the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is the chief hormone released when we are stressed and works directly on our digestive system. When stressed out or under pressure, a part of our autonomic nervous system shuts down digestion, as it requires focusing its energy to cope with the stress. Eating in a more controlled manner ensures that our energy can effortlessly let digestion do its work.
There are some excellent tricks to get into this habitual change. Want to know how you can incorporate these eating slowly benefits in your life? I currently accept emails and teaming up with you 🙂
The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age. | Lucille Ball