When you eat too quickly food does not get chewed and broken down properly, so that when it reaches the stomach it is not in the ideal state for optimal digestion. This means the stomach acid and digestive enzymes are unable to digest the food and as a consequence intact proteins may be absorbed through the intestinal lining, setting up an immune reaction that can lead to food intolerance. The quick lesson here? Eat more slowly and chew food thoroughly before swallowing it.
Chewing food well also help stimulate protection within your intestinal lining, in the form of something called Epithelial Growth Factor (EGF). EGF helps support cell growth in the intestines. Chewing also lets your digestive system know that something is coming so that it can prepare itself, whereas scarfing your food can be a shock to your digestive system. Can you remember how many meals you have eaten in the past week when you chewed your food thoroughly?
When your mind is preoccupied while you are eating, your digestive system switches off. Your mind is giving your body the message that it is engaged in something, and this is not conductive to optimal digestion. Remember, if you cannot digest your food properly, it sets the scene for food intolerance. Typical examples are when you eat at your desk while working. [Oops, I'm busted.] Or eating while on the move. Or while watching TV. It is best to concentrate on the food you are eating to help your digestive system work at its best. The ritual of saying grace before a meal, for example, is an excellent means of setting the scene for your digestion. I’d encourage you all to ‘give thanks’ for the food you are about to eat, if only because it is one means by which you can improve your digestion.
Excerpted from The Food Intolerance Bible (Conari, 2008) by Antony J. Haynes and Antoinette Savill