Blog Post

How many times should I chew my food?

Did you know that you should chew your food a minimum of fifteen times before swallowing? In some cases upwards of 30-40 times.

How many times you chew your food can impact your overall health and wellbeing.

When it comes to chewing your food (also known as mastication) a good rule of thumb is to chew until the food has become well-mixed with saliva and turned to liquid.

I can just imagine all the pleasant images floating through your mind after that intro, but bear with me. There are many known benefits to chewing your food properly and here are five:


Research shows that chewing slowly and thoroughly can help a person feel full faster. In a recent study, women who ate fast consumed more calories and felt less full than those who ate slower and chewed their food correctly. Similarly, a study by Iowa State University researchers found that subjects who chewed their food more reported lowered appetite.

When your food is liquefied before entering the stomach, your body is able to digest your food quicker and more efficiently. This also allows for faster nutrient absorption and a sense of satiety because your body has time to feel nourished.


The more we chew our food, the more nutrients are made available to the body for absorption and this is what also engages that feeling of being satiated.

The larger the particles of food that leave our body, the less access your body has to those nutrients. Therefore by breaking these down into smaller particles, we are releasing more of the nutrients into our system and the particles themselves are more readily absorbed.

A study from Purdue University found that people who chewed almonds for longer absorbed more healthy fat than those who chewed them less. This in turn will have made essential nutrients like vitamin E more available.


There’s a reason your mouth begins to ‘water’ when you think of food. Digestion begins in the mouth and this happens with the aid of digestive enzymes in your saliva. These enzymes aid the breakdown of starch and fats.

Chemistry tells us that the larger the ratio of surface area to particle size, the quicker the particle is eroded (or in this case, digested). Conversely, larger particles take longer to break down, which slows down your digestion and can impact your metabolism over time.

By not chewing enough, larger particles also pass through the digestive system and can cause problems such as bloating, gas, cramps and diarrhoea.


Mindful eating relates to being aware of how our food looks, the aroma, texture and taste. By chewing slowly and appreciating these aspects of our food, we cultivate an awareness of our thoughts and physical connection with what we are eating.

This is not only about slowing down so that one consumes less; mindful eating can potentially decrease stress levels, which in turn improves digestion. When the body is under stress, digestion is in effect turned down. The body regards this function as secondary to preparing for fight or flight (which is the state we are in when stressed). Mindful eating focuses attention on the meal, relaxing the mind and thereby ensuring the body digests food properly.


Out of all the health benefits of eating slowly and consciously, the most important of all is the ability to connect with our loved ones while we eat. There is so much research out there that shows the benefit of family meals, not least of which are healthy food choices and stronger family relationships.

Try making meals an opportunity to connect; take time to catch up with your family over dinner and teach your kids the importance of slowing down too. Have lunch outside the office with your colleagues and not at your desk and reconnect with friends through dinner.

So, how many times should I chew my food?

A number often mentioned is 32 times and whether that is an arbitrary number or a scientific fact, the benefits of savouring a meal are evident. It has a significant impact on our overall wellbeing and in a world where we are constantly spinning plates, taking our time to chew (just like our mothers used to tell us) gives us an opportunity to just be still, even if just for a precious moment.