With our days filled with a million and one things to do, everyday I spot people on their morning commute munching on a croissant with a coffee in hand or walking to an afternoon meeting with a sandwich in one hand whilst texting on the other. Whilst this practices our co-ordination skills and shows a great degree of multi-tasking, our bodies are utterly confused and it could explain why you might be experiencing post meal bloating or have a mystery tyre accruing round your middle.
Our digestive systems are very sensitive. Eating too quickly, on the move or without concentrating on your food can lead to bloating and other digestive complaints and I will explain why now. When your brain is engaged on another task like walking or Whatsapping, your energy, nutrients and blood flow are diverted to your muscles and brain and away from the digestive system so that it can power the ‘in the moment’ task. This makes it tricky for your body to digest your food, especially protein as you have fewer resources so you end up with a meal that is partially digested. What we don’t digest often turns into bacteria that later ferments, causing bloating, or it turns into fat so make sure you are seated and take the time to enjoy your meal in a relaxed state and with good intention.
5 TIPS TO EAT MORE MINDFULLY
- Find as quiet an area as you can to enjoy your meals, especially if you typically get interrupted by colleagues on your lunch break. If your mind is relaxed and not diverted on other things, so too will your digestive system be.
- Switch electronic apparatus onto silent and enjoy your food whilst not answering emails or calls. The emails can wait.
- Chew your food. Your nashers help you get even more flavour out of the ingredients you put on your plate and it also gives your digestive system a much needed helping hand breaking down your foods as it allows your mouth to begin the digestive work rather than solely relying on your stomach later on.
- They say ‘the first bite is taken with the eyes’ so look at what is on your plate. The smells and the sight of the food will awaken two of your senses and stimulate the salivary glands in your mouth to produce a digestive enzyme called amylase which helps you to break down any carbohydrates in your meal into simple sugars. This is why if you chew your food for a long while you end up with a very sweet taste towards the end of your chewing, because the carbs have broken down into simple sugars. Without looking at your food, you rely on the taste of the food once already in the mouth and your jaw action to produce amylase so it’ll be a delayed response and not so thorough digestion.
- Know what’s on your plate. This way you’ll be sure your diet is balanced and you’re eating the right things rather than eating a whole plate full of beige foods by which time the damage is done.
Yours in good digestive health,