When preparing for big meals, two hacks that can help with your stomach’s comfort to keep in mind are wearing stretchy pants and eating slowly.1 Stretchy pants are a fashion decision that can go a long way toward your post-meal comfort. However, eating more slowly may take a bit more strategizing.
A benefit of eating more slowly is that it may reduce the amount of air entering your stomach, which can contribute to feeling bloated.2 Slowing down while you eat will also give your body time to catch up with your intake.3 It can actually take up to 20 minutes for your body to process that you are full.4 The goal here is not to consume less food but to avoid the uncomfortably full feeling you might get after a large feast.
One way to help you slow down is to count how many times you chew. Though there is no proven magic number, it has been suggested by some to aim for 32 chews.5 What’s important to consider when you are chewing is that the first stage of the digestion process has already begun. In addition to breaking food into smaller pieces, your saliva makes it easier for food to pass through your esophagus, and it even contains an enzyme that helps break down starches.6 So aim for 32 or just chew until you feel that the bite of food has been sufficiently processed for the next part of the digestion process.
Implementing mindful eating practices is another way to help you take your time eating.7 Part of this practice involves focusing on the act of eating and considering the flavors and textures of the food. This will give you a chance to adequately chew, enhance your meal experience and help you savor the food.
Hopefully, eating more slowly will help your stomach, give you a better appreciation for different dishes and leave you with more room for pie. Now bring out the dessert!
If you have chronic stomach and digestive issues, speak to your healthcare provider, as it may be a sign of something serious. Think gluten could be the problem? Try imaware’s easy, at-home Celiac Disease Screening Test.
- Northwestern Medicine. Quick Does: Is Eating Too Fast Unhealthy? Accessed November 7, 2022.
- Cleveland Clinic. Health Essentials: Foods That Help Reduce Bloating. Accessed November 7, 2022.
- Cleveland Clinic. Bloated Stomach. Accessed November 7, 2022.
- Harvard Health Publishing. Mindful Eating. Accessed November 7, 2022.
- Intestinal Labs. Why is it so important to chew your food? Accessed November 7, 2022.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Your Digestive System & How it Works. Accessed November 7, 2022.
- American Diabetes Association - DiabetesSpectrum. Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat. Accessed November 7, 2022.