It’s time to get your hands dirty and eat with your hands!
There are many traditional cultures who eat with their hands and have done so throughout the ages. Now, restaurants across the United States are encouraging patrons to eat with their hands. While this may seem crazy that this is considered a “trend” to people from cultures where eating with your hands is standard, to the average American, eating sans utensils seems fun and adventurous. Before utensils, everything was finger food. According to the Smithsonian, the fork is a relatively new invention. Spoons have been used as eating utensils since Paleolithic times and knives since prehistoric times. However, the fork wasn’t used until the Middle Ages: a smaller version than what we have today was used to eat with by wealthy families of the Middle East and Byzantine Empire.
So why should you eat with your hands? We’ve rounded up 3 good reasons to eat with your hands.
What you may not realize is that when you eat with your hands, you’re improving your health! Here are just a few of the health benefits that come from eating with your hands:
Promotes mindful eating
When you eat with your hands, it forces you to pay closer attention to what you are eating. It can make you eat slower which helps to digest the food better. Eating by hand can promote a sense of fullness as compared to eating with utensils. You need to look at the food and focus on what you’re putting into your mouth when you eat with your hands vs eating with utensils which can be done mechanically.
One of the strongest and most used sensations in the body is touch. When we touch our food with our hands, the brain will signal the stomach that we are about to eat it. There are millions of nerve endings in your fingers that will relay the message that you’re about to chow down which helps prep the stomach for digestion. Also, there is some bacteria known as normal flora that can be found on the palm and fingers of the hand. It’s not harmful to humans and actually protects us from damaging microbes in the environment. When you eat with your hands, that flora in the fingers is swallowed and can promote healthy digestion in the gut. (Source)
Prevents diseases like Type 2 diabetes
Studies have shown that there is a correlation between eating fast and the risk of type 2 diabetes. People using cutlery to eat correlates with fast eating which has been linked to blood-sugar imbalances in the body. These imbalances can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.
So, there you have it! Maybe it’s time to return to eating with our hands after all. If anything, you can give it a try for your next meal—you’ll probably have fun doing it!