If your mother was always goading you to chew your food, it turns out she knew what was best for you. A team of nutrition researchers from Purdue University presented the results of their recently completed study on the relationship between chewing food and nutrient absorption at Chicago’s 2013 Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo, and according to these experts, chewing food more thoroughly can help the body retain more nutrients and in turn, help individuals retain energy levels from the foods they consume.
Study participants were asked to chew almonds, 10, 25, or 40 times before swallowing. After the almonds were consumed, researchers measured almond nutrient levels within each participant; researchers found that those who chewed more retained more nutrients from the almonds. Those participants who chewed less retained less nutrients, proving to researchers that the body is less efficient at absorbing nutrients from the larger, unchewed portions.
“Particle size [affects the] bioaccessibility of the energy of the food that is being consumed,” says Richard Mattes, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition Science at Purdue.”The more you chew, the more nutrients are retained in the body.”