Do You Know Nutrition: Digestion begins in your mouth

By Phylis Canion
March 25, 2014 at midnight
Updated March 24, 2014 at 10:25 p.m.

Phylis Canion

Phylis Canion

I'm not sure if you have written a column on how we chew our food can affect our weight. I would appreciate a refresher.

According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, scientists asked a group of men to eat as much food as they desired, with only one restriction - that they chew each mouthful of food a minimum of 15 bites or more than 40 bites. Regardless of the individual physical makeup (thin or overweight), the men consumed 12 percent fewer calories after the 40 chews per bite than those who chewed each bite 15 times.

An even more interesting discovery is that blood levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite and is found in the stomach lining, was lower after the subject chewed 40 times per bite as opposed to those who chewed only 15 times.

The most important benefit of chewing our food well is that the chewing action relays to the rest of the gastrointestinal tract to begin the digestion process. When food is swallowed with minimal chewing, it is swallowed before the rest of the digestive system is prepared, and therefore, it struggles to digest chunks of food, which in turn can result in indigestion, gas, bloating and stomach discomfort.

And yes, I know what you are asking. Do we really have to chew our oatmeal 40 times? OK, I will let you get by with only 10 chews per bite. Remember, digestion begins in our mouth.

I have used banana peel on my daughter's acne and cannot believe how well it works. Are there other uses for banana peel?

Banana peels are known for their antifungal and antibiotic properties and are loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Here are a few uses for the banana peel:• The inside of the peel can be rubbed on skin areas affected by psoriasis, acne (best rubbed on at night) and warts. Don't discard the peel on your hunting or camping trip in case you get poison ivy. Simply rub the inside of the peel on the poison ivy rash.

For a beautiful skin tone, rub the inside of the peel on your face before going to bed. Leave it on overnight and gently wash the skin the next morning with warm water. • Banana peels are excellent for itchy skin, and taping a piece of banana peel on a splinter will help work it out.

• Regularly rubbing banana peel on your teeth helps in whitening them naturally. Rub the peel on every day in a circular motion and see the results in about two weeks.

Thought for the week:You don't need to see far into the future - you only need to see where to take the next step.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant; email her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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