We often hear about all the dietary changes we need to make in order to lose weight, feel better, or heal our bodies. Usually, these recommendations include, “eat more veggies” or “eat foods rich in these vitamins”. Though these things are important, there’s a lot more to nutrition than the content of what you are consuming. Did you know that practicing mindfulness can increase digestive enzymes and assist in absorbing the nutrients you eat? Mindfulness has also shown to have a great impact on weight loss.
When you multitask while you eat, you are not allowing your brain to tell your body you are satisfied, while also impairing the digestive process and your body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals. In a study led by researcher Donald Morse, they found that those who meditated mindfully before eating produced 22% more of the digestive enzyme alpha-amylase, which helps you break down your food for absorption. Studies have even found that the time a person spends meditating is directly linked to amount of weight lost when one is dieting.
So, what can we do to take advantage of this information? How can we implement mindfulness into our diet? Here are some tips you can try to be more mindful when you eat:
- Try different flavors. Making new foods with new flavors to you and allowing yourself to taste and identify those flavors will keep you present while you are eating. Not to mention that keeping variety in your diet is beneficial.
- Make a decisive choice to focus on the food you are eating when you are eating it. Shut off all distractions and just eat.
- Take a few breaths to be thankful for your food before taking your first bite.
- Focus on your senses when you have an eating experience. What do you see, smell, taste, hear?
- Think about how you feel after consuming different foods. I know that when I have a meal I cook at home, I feel accomplished, refreshed, and energized. I really notice how the food I eat is nourishing my body.
At the end of the day, your food intake has a major impact on your overall health and should not be dismissed as unimportant. Be thoughtful with it.
Morse, D. R, Schacterie, G. R., Furst, M. L., Zaydenberg, M., & Pollack, R. L. (1985). The effects of stress and relaxation on oral digestion of a complex carbohydrate food. International Journal of Psychosomatics, 32(3), 20-27