Tongue is not meant only for talking, it is also meant for helping mankind to taste and enjoy the food they eat. It is said that next to sexual satisfaction, it is the taste of food that gives humans so much of satisfaction and tongue is the major player in this act of reaching supreme satisfaction.

Similarly, nose is meant not only for smelling but also breathing properly. It also controls, filters incursion of germs into lungs that create lung infections.

      Are we really enjoying what we eat?  We struggle so much to earn so that we can eat and live. If we are not adopting proper scientific and time tested method of eating, then we are, in reality, not enjoying what we are eating.  Tongue is the only part in our body that has taste buds and gives us the feeling of the taste of the food that we are eating.  No other part of our body can give this kind of sensation of enjoyment.  Nose helps us to enjoy the aroma of the food but does not help in the process of digestion and enjoyment of the different tastes of different dishes. The human tongue can detect basic taste components like sweet, sour, salty, bitter etc.  The sense of taste is referred to as a gustatory sense.

      Taste buds are organs on our tongue that respond to chemical reactions from all the foods we eat. Most chemicals contained in food articles dissolve in the saliva. The taste buds are tiny specks on the tongue. They send information detected by clusters of various receptors and ion channels to the gustatory cortex of the cerebrum via the nerve systems. Receptors on the surface of the tongue respond to different substances.  It is reported that the tongue contains about 10.000 plus taste buds that help us to enjoy the food we eat.

       How to enjoy the taste of what we eat?  The following suggestion is for those of you who are in the habit of gulping food as fast as possible just to fill your stomach and not eating for enjoying what they are eating.  Practicing this suggestion will definitely help your digestive system to function with least possible load and for supply of required energy in your day today life.  Help yourself.   Spread the good word and make this as a permanent habit:

       We love to eat and we eat to live and not live to eat so fast that we do not really taste the food that we eat – so, let us enjoy eating food properly.  Let us conduct a small test –

       Take a test: Put some food into your mouth, do not be in a hurry to gulp it down just to feel the fullness of food in your stomach and to belch. Why should anybody be in such a great mortal hurry at least while eating? One should enjoy the food with the help of our four-inch wonder called tongue.  With the help of teeth take your time to break the solid food into minute particles, roll the pulped food again and again over your tongue and do not allow it to escape into the throat area to tempt you to swallow; practice bringing it back on to your tongue so that large particles still remaining can be crushed further into pulp. Let the munched pulp roll on your tongue as long as possible and communicate to you the wonderful taste of whatever you are eating. Different food articles have different tastes and it is for us to really enjoy This way, you will be able to slowly enjoy the food, consume less, feel supremely satisfied, help your digestive system in its functioning, avoids indigestion, acidity, gastric problem and less load on the stomach muscles.

        Are we really breathing?  We live by breathing air, eating food and drinking water. But unfortunately, all these natural resources are being either polluted, adulterated or contaminated.  Are we really breathing? What a question to ask, how can we live without breathing?   The question is, are we really breathing?  The answer is a definite No.  Let us examine – We are living in a very fast world.  We have no time for many things in life – including breathing properly or eating properly.

       Half breathing: Without going into the abracadabra of our breathing, anatomy of lungs and its working system, let us get down to brass-tacks of how we are loosing out on getting enough oxygen into our systemic necessities.  Lungs have a certain inhaling and exhaling capacities.  Between these two functions, the inhaled air containing oxygen goes inside, the oxygen and other contents whether pure or polluted are absorbed and supplied to the blood system. Then lungs release carbon dioxide and it is exhaled through the nostrils.  What we are discussing is the quality and quantity of intake of air into our lungs.

      We may be breathing mechanically but we are not really filling the lungs with the required quality and quantity of air that contains oxygen that is needed for buttressing our blood flow system.  That is, we inhale only half the quantity of so called fresh air and exhale almost immediately and allow the other half of stale air to almost remain inside the lung system thus creating a storage capacity of stale air inside the lungs.  This is detrimental not only to our lung system but also to our entire body system.

     Moral:  We should not forget to breathe properly. We have to feed our lungs with as much of fresh air as possible for them to work efficiently. This can be tested right now.  Take a deep breath and hold it inside your lungs till you finish counting 10 and then slowly exhale.  Repeat this simple exercise for a few minutes and notice the change.  Try to go back to your normal breathing way that you have cultivated – you will know the difference immediately.  This is a classic example of how we are forgetting to breathe in and breathe out in a scientific way. This leads to insufficient supply of required quantity of oxygen into out blood system and makes us feel tired very soon.  Particularly the worst affected people are those who will be engaged in jobs that require extreme concentration and cannot think of anything else.  I have noticed my grand children getting tired very soon since they will be totally engrossed in playing tensed up computer games or browsing internet and forgetting to properly breath thus starving their lungs from the life giving oxygen.

     Syndrome of pollution: Transport sector is the worst possible polluter of our environment. Maximum carbon footprints are from this sector.  The amount of carbon dioxide and other green house gases being released are creating climate change, consequential global warming or global dimming.  This is causing alarming situations the world over and everybody is looking for adopting green methods for improving our environment. Whenever we see  heavy vehicles or auto rickshaws belching smoke, immediately we cover our nostrils with hankies and literally stop breathing till we move a little farther and feel that it is safe to inhale; even then we will be testing the air with half breathing thus depriving our lungs from sufficient air.    We are all suffering from this syndrome of air pollution.  This paradoxical situation is due to destruction of greenery in the name of development and we must stop such rape of nature.

       Remedy:  Despite our hurry-burry ‘out of the box’ living conditions, pressures that build up within us for achieving successes and to have more and more materialistic pleasures, we must not forget to breathe properly.  We must cultivate this proper breathing habit on a regular basis whether we are busy or not; make it a point to reserve a few minutes every one hour to help ourselves to breath properly and avoid getting tired sooner than later.  Cultivating practice of proper breathing exercise through early morning or late evening  meditations or even during lunch breaks in our work places can make a difference to our health.  So, breathe properly to live and enjoy a healthy life.

       Enjoy the above suggestions by playing eating and breathing games at your dining table (if you can get your family together at the dining table?!) –  like how long one can hold their breath after taking a deep inhalation of air, or like how long one can keep the food on their tongue.  Spread this simple but very important knowledge among youths and children. It will, in turn, benefit them for keeping better health.

  • (Vasanthkumar Mysoremath,

Environmentalist & Social Activist)


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