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If you go eww when someone asks you to eat with your hands, it’s time to read this piece. We know you find using chopsticks and forks more polished, but what if we tell you they can give you health problems? In fact, using cutlery and not eating with your hands can lead to major weight gain.
We know it sounds unbelievable, but believe it or not, it is absolutely true.
“The practice of eating with one’s hands, specifically your fingers, has its origin in Ayurvedic. It propagates the teaching that our bodies are in sync with the five elements of nature, and each finger is an extension of one of these five elements,” says nutritionist Yashna Garg.
When using your hands, you are supposed to utilize all fingers together. This brings together all of nature’s elements and brings awareness to the texture, taste, aromas, and temperature of the food.
When you touch your food with your hands, you are creating a physical and spiritual connection with it, being more present in the moment.
It promotes mindful eating. Psychologically, eating with your hands makes you pay attention to what you’re eating. Eating with your hands may allow you to have your food slowly and deliberately, which can help you feel full even with less food. This prevents binge eating that is a cause for weight gain.
“It also encourages a sense of satiety or satisfaction, which is lacking when you use cutlery to have your food,” suggests Yashna.
Research shows that type-2 diabetic patients are probably hasty eaters. This is because they use cutlery to eat, as compared to individuals who don’t have the condition. Eating fast has been connected to blood sugar disparities in the body, thus being a big factor in the occurrence of type-2 diabetes.
Once we touch our food with our hands, the brain signals our stomach that we are ready to eat. This helps the stomach in getting ready to prepare itself for the food, thus improving digestion.
“We have some bacteria, known as normal flora, found on our skin. These bacteria are not harmful for humans. Instead, they protect us from many harmful bacteria from the outside environment. It is required to establish normal flora in various parts of our body like in mouth, throat, intestine, gut, etc. for the betterment of health,” recommends Yashna.
Your hands also act as an effective temperature sensor. When you eat with a spoon or fork, the food goes directly from the plate to your mouth, so you may not realize if it is too hot. When we touch our food before putting it into our mouths, the millions of nerve endings on the tips of our fingers get a temperature and texture reading that is immediately sent to the stomach. So, you are less likely to put food that is too hot into your mouth, effectively preventing you from scalding your tongue.
Eating with hands is healthy, as it can prove to be a wonderful muscle exercise that may in turn help in increasing blood circulation. The hand’s movements may assist in promoting a better flow of blood, thus positively affecting the overall well-being of the body.
“Just wash your hands properly before eating and you are good to go”, concludes nutritionist Yashna.
So – fork or hands? What’s your pick?