The way we chew, for instance, can alter our digestion, teeth and even our face shape. And new research suggests how often we chew could even affect our brain power.
Here we reveal what scientists and medics now know about this instinctive actâ€‰â€¦
We’ve all heard the dictum about chewing each mouthful 20 times before swallowing, but actually how many times we should chew depends on what weâ€™re eating, says gastroenterologist Dr Nick Read, chief medical adviser for charity The IBS Network.
â€˜The Victorians thought you needed to chew food 14 times but we generally wait until it feels right and then swallow â€” itâ€™s intuitive.â€™
He says that because our diet has become softer, thanks to all that processed food, we now donâ€™t need to chew for so long.
However, raw fruit and vegetables, and meat, demand more chewing.Â â€˜If you donâ€™t, lumps of food will pass through your digestive system and not be completely absorbed,â€™ says Dr Read.