Eating Requires More and More Effort Every Day

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Slower...slower... Photo: GS

If the last time you remember sitting down for a long luxurious meal was a high-school graduation dinner with you grandparents at Olive Garden, you may — gasp — be missing out on the delicious and pleasurable taste of food entirely. In a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, researchers learned that taking time to breathe when we eat actually leaves room for a deeper enjoyment of food. 

Remember what your mom used to say? "Did you eat your food or did you just inhale it?"

The study found that breathing smoothly and steadily through the nose when eating will enhance the flavor of your foods, but if you're the kind who wants to eat as fast as you can, that sugary doughnut may barely taste like anything. According to NPR's "The Salt," "if you're stuffing food with abandon down your throat or gasping for breath or heaving, you start to disrupt that normal pattern of airflow. Food volatiles won't store properly at the back of your mouth, and they could get sucked into your lungs and pass into the bloodstream."

But be careful: You can't breathe just any way you want. As Laleh Golshahi, a mechanical engineer at Virginia Commonwealth University, told NPR: "[Breathing] not too fast and not too slow is the key. Though the faster you exhale, you have a better chance to sweep food volatiles from the back of your throat toward the nasal cavity to smell."

Add breathing to chewing everything thoroughly, chewing with your mouth shut, not smearing your lipstick should you be wearing any, and not getting anything in your teeth: the list of just a few of the things you should be doing every time you eat. 

Great. Just another added pressure to my life!!!