It may sound totally far-fetched, but scientists have recently discovered there’s a major health benefit to taking the time to chew your food thoroughly.
Their research was published in the journal Immunity.
Using mice as their test subjects, scientists have found that chewing food thoroughly can help boost your immune system and protect your body from illness.
The study itself was led by teams at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom and the National Institutes of Health.
Those involved in the study found that the act of chewing releases the Th17 immune cell, which can help fight bacteria and fungal infections–though it typically is relegated to keeping infections of the mouth at bay.
Scientists discovered that they could stimulate the production of the Th17 cells by altering the texture of the food of lab mice.
The more chewing a mouse had to do to eat the food, the more Th17 cells its mouth distributed.
Lead author of the study, Dr Joanne Konkel, of the University of Manchester, stated of the findings:
“The immune system performs a remarkable balancing act at barrier sites such as the skin, mouth and gut by fighting off harmful pathogens while tolerating the presence of normal friendly bacteria.
Our research shows that, unlike at other barriers, the mouth has a different way of stimulating Th17 cells: not by bacteria but by mastication. Therefore mastication can induce a protective immune response in our gums.”
The Th17 cells may work to primarily guard the mouth from infection, but they can also work to provide the skin and gut with “good bacteria” to keep it in good health.
Recently, scientists have been focusing on maintaining proper gut health and its link to a wide away of disorders and diseases including Parkinson’s and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Simply chewing your food well contribute to keeping your gut as healthy as possible.
But, the Th17 cell can have negative effects on your health.
Chewing too much can speed up the bone loss one experiences in periodontitis, so those with this condition are not encouraged to eat food that demands too much extra work.
Scientists hope this new study will help them tackle a wide range of conditions in the future.