East Asian countries have some of the best life expectancies in the world. The main reason for this is put down to the lifestyles that they lead and the diets that they eat.
There is no denying that a culture that prioritizes home-cooked meals that are rich in vegetables and low in saturated fats is going to contribute to these incredible statistics. However, there is another important reason.
Using chopsticks is another contributing factor to the longevity seen in these cultures. There are multiple surprising health benefits of using chopsticks to eat. Below, we will look at some of the most surprising benefits.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Using Chopsticks?
It might be difficult to imagine how using chopsticks instead of a fork or spoon can have any significant health benefits, but they can actually have a remarkable effect on your overall health and well-being.
One of the main and most desired health benefits of using chopsticks is weight loss. When we eat food with a fork or a spoon, very little thought has to be put into the bites that we take. This means that it can be easy to eat quickly and overeat with large portion sizes.
Chopsticks can be incredibly useful in helping to avoid binge eating and eating portions that are too large. When you are using chopsticks, you need to pay more attention to each mouthful that you take.
You are also more likely to take smaller mouthfuls because you can’t load up chopsticks in the same way that you can a fork or spoon.
Taking smaller bites and eating more slowly, in general, can help to reduce the portion sizes that you consume. This can help your body to more accurately identify the cues that tell it you have eaten enough food.
If you are working on weight loss or weight management, this can be a useful trick.
As we mentioned above, using chopsticks is more difficult than using a fork or spoon if you haven’t been raised using them. The process of holding chopsticks is more complicated than the process of holding a single piece of cutlery.
If you were not raised to eat using chopsticks, eating with them will require more focus and coordination.
If you begin to regularly use chopsticks, you will improve your overall ability to coordinate your hand movements. This can be a useful skill, especially if you struggle with coordination already.
The coordination required to use chopsticks is another aspect that helps you to slow down when you are eating which can allow your brain time to receive cues from your body that you are full.
Reduced Risk Of Choking
This is a health benefit that might be the most surprising of all. Using chopsticks can actually reduce the risk of choking. This might be especially surprising as there is no way to cut up your food when you are using chopsticks.
The phrase “biting off more than you can chew” is more than just a philosophical saying.
The act of taking a bite that is too big for you to comfortably chew and swallow can commonly lead to instances of choking. Not only is this incredibly dangerous, but it is also extremely scary to experience.
When you eat with chopsticks, you are forced to take smaller bites of food because you cannot pick up as much food as you can with a fork. When you take smaller bites of food, you can more easily swallow them which naturally reduces the risk of choking on your meal.
This can be a hugely beneficial side effect of using chopsticks for people who have had issues with swallowing in the past. It can also help to take some stress out of eating which can also help to benefit your health.
Lower Glycemic Index Of Food
Another remarkable benefit of using chopsticks to eat your food is that they can actually lower the glycemic index of your food. Although this might sound impossible, it is actually true.
There are some foods that naturally help to control your blood sugar levels, such as apples and nuts. However, you can only eat so many of these foods.
Studies have shown that using chopsticks to eat rice triggers a lower glycemic response. In fact, using chopsticks can take the glycemic index (GI) from 81 when using a spoon, down to 68.
This effect doesn’t just magically happen due to the use of chopsticks. It is actually the way in which you eat when using chopsticks that helps to lower the GI. When you use chopsticks to eat food, you are going to take smaller portions and spend more time chewing your food.
It is important to note that the effect on the GI of food is minimal in the grand scheme of things. This effect is going to be less effective if you keep eating foods that are likely to cause a glycemic spike.
Improved Hand Strength
We mentioned above that using chopsticks regularly can help to improve the coordination of your hand, however, that isn’t the only benefit for your hands. The way in which chopsticks need to be held can help to improve the overall muscle strength of your hands.
This can be a huge benefit for younger children, as well as for adults who feel like their grip strength isn’t as good as it could be.
While you don’t want to hold chopsticks particularly tightly, the way in which you have to move your hand can help to activate muscles you otherwise may not use.
Although this isn’t technically a direct health benefit of using chopsticks, it can lead to health benefits in the future. Chopsticks are generally made from bamboo, especially if they come from a takeout restaurant.
Bamboo is a biodegradable material that is naturally occurring in the world. This makes it incredibly environmentally friendly. It is also a great alternative to the plastic disposable cutlery that you can get from takeout places.
Reducing the amount of disposable plastic that you use can help to keep the planet healthy and provide you with a healthier place to live. It can also help to make the planet a healthier place for other people and even your children to live.
How To Use Chopsticks
In order to get all the incredible and surprising health benefits that come with chopsticks, you will need to know how to use them properly. Below is a quick guide on how to hold chopsticks properly.
Sandwich A Single Chopstick
Taking one of the chopsticks, place it between the tips of your thumb and index finger. An easy way to remember how to hold the first chopstick is to think about how you hold a pen.
The thumb and index finger should pinch the chopstick while your middle finger provides support underneath. This is the easiest way to hold the upper chopstick of the two.
This is the best way to start. If you don’t hold a pen in this way, you may need to practice the grip.
Get Used To Moving The Chopstick
Once you have positioned the first chopstick between your fingers, you should practice moving it around a bit. This is an important step as this skill will allow you to effectively pick up your food when you are eating.
Practice bringing your thumb and index finger down towards the palm of your hand. Once you are comfortable moving the chopstick around without losing your grip on the stick, it is time to move on to add the second chopstick.
Place A Second Chopstick At The Base
With your thumb and index finger still holding the first chopstick, place the second chopstick at the base of your thumb and index finger. It should fit comfortably into the gentle creases of your skin.
To support the bottom chopstick, make sure that it is resting against the side of your ring finger. The thumb and index finger should be providing the grip for both chopsticks. The tips grip the top chopstick and the base grips the bottom one.
Your middle and ring fingers should be providing support to the sticks without gripping them.
The technique for holding and successfully using chopsticks can take some practice, especially if you have never used them before. However, it doesn’t take long to get used to them once you have mastered the correct grip technique.
You can even practice by trying to use chopsticks to pick up dry cereal or other food items.
Using chopsticks to eat your food can provide you with some surprising health benefits. While you may not need to benefit from all of these, they can be useful and help to contribute to your overall health and well-being.
If you have never used chopsticks before, it can be a useful skill to learn in case you want to indulge in some of these health benefits one day.