In today's fast-paced urban lifestyle, the simple act of eating often takes a back seat. People frequently rush through meals without paying proper attention, even when they have the luxury of time, like during a relaxing dinner at the end of a busy day or on weekends. It's not uncommon to see individuals eating while engrossed in their TV shows or endlessly scrolling through their smartphones.
According to Functional Nutritionist Mugdha Pradhan, CEO and Founder, of iThrive, mindful eating involves savouring your food deliberately, taking your time to chew each bite thoroughly, and paying close attention to how the food affects your body and mind.
In earlier times, this was the norm. With no distractions, obtaining food was a primary activity, and once food was secured, people relished it with undivided attention. However, in today's world, mindful eating has evolved into an alternative approach, a therapeutic means to enhance overall well-being. There are even courses and tutorials dedicated to teaching this practice effectively. Research has shown that mindful eating can be particularly beneficial for weight management, eating disorders, and digestive problems.
Here are two key advantages of mindful eating:
1. Enhanced Digestion: Mindful eating fosters better digestion, assisting in the management of digestive issues. The body's digestive processes, such as stomach acid and enzyme secretion, are triggered when food is ingested properly, taking into account the quantity and composition of the food. Eating with your hands and chewing thoroughly also play a role in optimizing this process.
2. Overcoming Eating Disorders: Mindful eating has demonstrated its effectiveness in mitigating binge eating disorders and other eating-related issues. Multiple studies have conclusively shown that it helps individuals reestablish a healthy relationship with food. In eating disorders, individuals often turn to food as a means of coping with uncomfortable emotions (often referred to as "emotional eating"). This behaviour can lead to overeating even when not hungry, resulting in metabolic and digestive complications. Mindful eating empowers individuals to reconnect with their natural hunger and fullness cues, enabling them to stop eating when their body's needs are satisfied.