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Body

Slowing down eating and drinking habits for better health

According to researchers, living at a fast and furious pace may be bad for our health.

By Donna Fleming
Eating too fast
Bolting down your food can increase your chance of being overweight. Researchers in one study found that women aged between 40 and 50 who eat quickly are twice as likely to be overweight than slow eaters. That’s because eating speedily overrides mechanisms that tell our brains our stomachs are full. When you eat quickly, by the time the “I’m full” message gets to the brain, you’ve overeaten.
Wolfing down your food also increases your chances of suffering from acid reflux because your stomach produces
more acid to digest the extra food you’ve eaten in a short amount of time. Acid reflux isn’t only uncomfortable, but over time it could also lead to more serious problems, such as gastroesophagul reflux disease.

Fix the problem:
Your grandmother was right – you should chew each mouthful 20 times! If this isn’t practical, try 10 times. Put your cutlery down between each mouthful and have a rest before you swallow the next one. It takes around 20 minutes for the message that you’re full to reach your brain, so try to make your meal last at least that long.
Drinking too fast
Drinking any liquids too fast is bad for you, because it increases the risk of acid reflux. But it’s knocking back the booze at a great rate of knots that you really have to avoid. Your body just can’t process alcohol quickly enough. This not only means you’re more likely to consume more than you would have if you were taking it easy, but it puts more strain on your liver and, if you drink to excess, it increases your risk of alcohol poisoning.
This is because your body isn’t getting rid of the toxic ethanol in alcohol fast enough. How fast you process alcohol depends on a variety of factors such as your size and also your gender (women process it more slowly than men). However, as a general guideline, your liver can only cope with one unit of alcohol per hour.
Fix the problem: Slow down your drinking by having water or a soft drink in between each alcoholic one. Eating a meal before you drink can also help to slow the rate at which ethanol is absorbed into your blood stream, but the most important thing to remember is to drink in moderation.
Breathing too fast
We should be taking between 10 and 14 breaths per minute, however some of us take 20 or more, which can lead to symptoms such as heart palpitations, tiredness, difficulty concentrating and tingling around the lips and fingers, as well as feeling out of breath.
Having these signs may mean you are breathing rapidly and shallowly through your mouth, rather than slowly and deeply through your nose. This will affects your body’s ability to get oxygen to your muscles and organs. They may not be able to work properly as a result. Fast breathing is often a bad habit that can result from stress, emotional trauma, back or neck pain or surgery.
Fix the problem: Count how many times you breathe in a minute while resting. If it’s more than 20, see your GP. Fast breathing may also be a sign of a respiratory condition, such as asthma or bronchitis, and should always be checked out. You can learn to breathe properly with the help of exercises. Physiotherapists may be able to help with this.

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