Why is eating mindfully important?

We all have busy lives and it’s difficult sometimes to stop, to sit down and to take time out to eat our food slowly and focus on the smell, texture, temperature and flavours of the dish, without having distractions like watching TV or having our mobiles on the table.

But eating mindfully is really important for our digestive system.  Being relaxed means that our parasympathetic nervous system can do its job of digesting food and absorbing nutrients properly. However, if we are in a stressed state emotionally, physically or mentally then the 2nd part of our nervous system, the sympathetic nervous system, which is needed for our ‘fight or flight’ response takes over, and that is when we end up with digestive issues such as feeling bloated, full of gas or having reflux issues.

Our bodies need to be in a relaxed state, or without the sympathetic dominance, to be able to digest our food properly, and by doing this our overall health improves.

Alongside this we need to be eating for the right reasons, so when you are eating you need to ask yourself a few questions, such as:

  • How does my body feel – Satisfied, Full, Very full, Stuffed, Sick?
  • Why am I eating – Am I hungry, emotional, bored, or just being sociable?
  • How full do I want to be?

Do you put your fork down between mouthfuls of eating food? Do you take only small mouthfuls of food? Do you sit down whilst eating away from your desk, or eat in the car, or walking from one place to another? Do you eat in a calm, clean environment?

All of these factors will have an impact on your digestion and how well you digest your food.

Do you notice when your taste buds are less sensitive to the taste of the food you are eating?

Do you put your knife and fork down when you are full even if there is still food left on the plate? If yes, this is being mindful to your body and only eating to nourish it.