Are You Chewing Right? James Nestor Explains Why This Is Important

Adiel Gorel
Have you ever watched a documentary where they showed us the skulls of ancient hunter-gatherer communities? Did you notice how big those jaws looked? Why do you suppose our prehistoric ancestors had these massive jaws and – researchers tell us – perfectly straight teeth? I recently met up with James Nestor who has written a book called Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art. We discussed this intriguing phenomenon, among other things, in a recent episode of my show

How we ate then versus how we eat now.

Examine the typical human diet today: we eat a lot of soft things cooked vegetables and meat and grain, smoothies, pancakes, juices and so on. Now contrast this with the way that our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate: they would forage for and eat roots, berries and fruit, and they would eat what they killed. There was a lot of very tough chewing involved. Research suggests that people would spend up to four hours a day chewing! The result was big, strong, outward-jutting jaws and really straight teeth. Experts say crooked teeth were practically nonexistent then.
When the prehistoric skull is compared with the modern human skull, we find that the mouth is a lot smaller now. The teeth are more crowded, more likely to be misaligned and we, as a species, much more likely to have respiratory issues. One of the ways to ease this problem is to chew properly something that we seem to have forgotten to do as we evolved further, James Nestor tells me. He suggests chewing this extremely hard Turkish gum for a really good jaw workout (though he does warn about the ‘shoe leather’ taste).

Why we need to learn the
‘art’ of chewing.

James and I discussed how nasal breathing helps the body get more oxygen and lowers the heart rate. This helps the body go further and faster using less energy, which means the body can use that extra energy for better physical output. Proper chewing helps to support this ‘retraining’. Vigorous chewing, such as that hard gum James recommends, makes the mouth salivate, which is known to have many positive impacts. To support this overall better functioning of the respiratory system, he also recommends oropharyngeal exercises. This is basically the exercise of the tongue, which has one more positive impact: easing sleep apnea and snoring. At about the 41-minute mark, James and I discuss the concept of mouth taping and the sort of response he has had from people who found this really useful in reducing snoring. Don’t miss it.
As James and I delve further into the issue of the right way to breathe and chew, we also examine the concept of Nitric Oxide, the so-called miracle molecule, and why it is important for the body and how we can get more of it into our system. We speak about ancient techniques such as Sudharshan Kriya as well as modern systems such as the Wim Hof Method. The aim is basically to stress the system, which in turn makes it stronger and increases its capacity. 
Check out this episode of The Adiel Gorel Show to listen to James Nestor and I as we speak about unbelievably transforming health by breathing and chewing right, and how you can do it too. Watch now! 
Adiel Gorel

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