Eat Slow, Beat GERD
In this modern world of drive-thru windows, prepackaged foods and microwaveable TV dinners, eating, like everything else, has become something that many of us do in a hurry. We eat breakfast on the drive to the office, scarf lunch during a short lull in the workday and somehow manage to squeeze dinner in among the list of things we need to get done at home each night.
If this sounds like you, it might be time to slow down and think about something: all that wolfing could be contributing to your GERD for Macon residents. Studies have shown that eating more slowly can reduce the episodes of GERD you suffer from, while eating at a leisurely pace may have even more benefits than you realize.
Savor Each Bite, Save Yourself from GERD
In one study at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, researchers instructed 10 healthy volunteers to finish 690-calorie meals in either five or 30 minutes on alternating days. After meals, these volunteers were monitored for two hours. As you might have guessed, those who ate their meals in five minutes had far higher chances of experiencing an episode of reflux, showing just how important your mom’s advice may have been: you need to slow down and chew your food!
- When you scarf down a meal, your stomach can’t digest it gradually and must produce more acid to handle the large amount of food that fills it. This can push acid up towards the esophageal sphincter and into your throat, where it results in those uncomfortable symptoms that we wish we didn’t know so well.
- Chewing your food for longer will help to break it down into more digestible chunks. The saliva that coats food as you chew contains enzymes that begin the digestion process before you even swallow. Because of this, chewing thoroughly will take some pressure off of your stomach and also help you prevent gas, bloating and other issues of digestive distress.
- If you eat too quickly, your stomach won’t be able to tell your brain it’s full. We tend to eat less when we eat more slowly, making a measured pace ideal for preventing another problem factor for GERD: obesity.
We often lead stressful, busy lives, but most of us could benefit from slowing down a bit—and meals are the perfect place to start. Try to spend an unhurried 20 to 30 minutes eating every meal, plus the time you need to prepare it. Here are some tips on how to slow down.
- Cut out distractions like driving, television, computers and other technology.
- Be mindful of your eating—notice every texture, smell, flavor, color and temperature.
- Dish up smaller portions and take a break before getting seconds.
- Put down your fork after each bite you take.
- If eating with a group, note the speed that others are eating at and try to be the last to finish.
Of course, one extra benefit of slowing down as you eat is that you’ll enjoy each bite much more. So, what’s your hurry? Chew, enjoy and give your body a little time to digest—you’ll thank yourself for it.
Has eating slowly helped you fight the symptoms of GERD? Share your experiences, tips and questions with us in the comments below!