Do you ever skip breakfast or eat dinner too late at night? Do you at times swallow or “inhale” your food instead of chewing slowly? Perhaps you eat your lunch on the run, distracted by other things?
Or maybe no matter how healthy you are eating, you still get symptoms of bloating or indigestion after your meals?
If you do then this is for you because when and how you eat is just as important as what you eat!
How you eat your food is extremely important because the digestion process starts from the time your food enters your mouth. Saliva contains digestive enzymes which make it crucial to chew your food well so you break the nutrients and fibre down properly, ready for the next stage of the digestion process.
However often in today’s busy world, you might be preoccupied when eating your meal such as sitting in front of the television, eating at your desk or even eating on the run in a rushed manner. You might even just give no thought into the process of how you eat; subconsciously swallowing your food quickly because you are hungry or it tastes good! Unfortunately this shortens the first process of digestion, the chewing!
When you do not chew your food properly or when you are not in a calm, relaxed environment to be able to digest your food properly, your food is not broken down for the next stage of the digestion process and not enough digestive enzymes are created from your saliva which may result in bloating or indigestion after your meals.
I would advise you to slow it down at meal time, sit in a relaxed environment and focus on the look of your food, the smell, the taste and most importantly focus on chewing your food for at least 20 times before swallowing. It will also make eating a more enjoyable experience for you and your family and you might find yourself eating less, as your body is breaking down the food properly so it will signal to your brain when you have had enough.
When you eat is also important as it ensures your blood sugar levels are stable and you have a nice slow release of energy throughout your day. If you skip breakfast, lunch or dinner, it can raise your blood sugar levels releasing insulin (fat storage hormone) into your blood stream. If you skip a few meals throughout the day, your body might think to store your next meal as fat rather than burning it as fuel as this can signal to your body that it does not know where its next meal is coming from.
I would advise you to eat breakfast between 6am to 9am, lunch between 12pm to 2pm and dinner between 5pm to 7pm. This way you will have a consistent flow of energy from the foods you eat. After 7pm your digestive system starts to slow, so if you eat a big meal late at night, you will wake feeling un-refreshed, full in the belly with some bloating or you might have a restless sleep. If you feel hungry after 7pm, have a small “fat” snack such as a handful of nuts, almond butter on a green apple, avocado on a rice cake or even a boiled egg (my personal favourite is a scrambled egg with butter!) Another good time to have a small snack is between 2pm – 4pm, when your cortisol levels are at the lowest. You have probably already noticed that around this time you are tired and crave something sugary or a caffeine pick me up.
Eating the “fat” snacks recommended above will ensure you have a boost of energy to carry you through to dinner. Listen to your body as there is no need to snack if you are not hungry. Three meals a day is enough if you feel full with good energy.
Do you eat your meals at the same time every day? Please share in the comments below.
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