For many working women, meal times have become a thing of necessity, rather than pleasure or nutrition. Particularly in the current crisis, if you’re fortunate enough to still be working, the blurred lines of office/ home have likely resulted in longer hours and shorter (if any) breaks for food.
As we rush to refuel ourselves, it’s easy to switch into autopilot and forget that we’re even eating let alone enjoying our meals. Not taking the time to consciously enjoy our food means that we’re less likely to feel full, happy or satisfied after meals.
Eating slower can help to remedy these feelings and can also have multiple physiological benefits that can improve your health without changing your diet.
5 Benefits to eating slowly:
1. Improves digestion
When you’re eating, it’s important to try and maximise the absorption of nutrients into your body. Taking your time to chew your food properly means that the enzymes in saliva can break down your food, ease digestion and ensure the maximum amount of nutrients reach your small intestine.
2. Reduces stress
Eating while in a rush can cause a rise in Cortisol, the hormone related to stress. This can have a really detrimental impact on your digestion and the absorption of nutrients. Eating while stressed or in a rush can also trigger physical symptoms such as heart burn and have an impact your metabolic rate.
3. You’ll eat less
Research has found that the hormone that triggers satiety signals can take up to 20 minutes to reach your brain, meaning the slower you eat, the more likely your satiety signal will kick in before you’ve finished your meal.
4. You’ll make better choices
Being conscious about your eating habits can also make you more aware of what you’re eating and encourage healthier choices. Taking time to fully enjoy your meals and ensure your body is able to absorb nutrients may also make you want to eat more nutrient-dense foods.
5. Improve satisfaction
Learning to listen to our hunger signals and give ourselves enough time to feel satisfied means we are more likely to leave mealtimes feeling content, relaxed and full.
How to implement:
Choose one meal time where you tend to have more time (for most people this will be dinner) and really focus on eating slowly and consciously enjoying your food.
Try one of the following three techniques between each bite:
- Put your utensils down
- Have a sip of water
- Take a breath