Most Indians believe that the real taste of food can be experienced only by eating it with hands. As per Ayurveda, every finger is an augmentation of each of the five elements. Thus, when a person gathers his fingertips to touch the food, he possibly kindles the five elements (earth, water, fire, space, air), making him more aware of texture, smells and taste of the food that he is about to consume. This way you are not only feeding your physical body but also your spirit and mind.
Why Should You Eat Food With Your Hands?
Why do Indians eat with their hands? Some people may be curious to know this. Here are some of the benefits of eating food with your hands:
1. Improves Digestion
The minute we touch our food with our fingers, the nerve endings present in the fingertips signal the brain that we are about to eat. The message is further transmitted to the stomach which starts preparing for digestion by releasing enzymes and digestive juices necessary for proper digestion. Also, the nerve endings of the fingers help in ascertaining the texture and temperature of the food that we are about to partake, thereby readying the brain to release appropriate digestive juices even before the food has touched our lips.
2. Promotes Mindful Eating
When you join your fingers to eat, it may augment mindfulness for the taste and aroma of the food, thus making the entire event more pleasant. You are more connected or in sync with your food as compared to when eating with a fork or spoon. Plus, a more conscious and calm state of mind may support optimal digestion and better assimilation of nutrients.
3. Engages All Senses
When a person uses cutlery to eat food, he may be limiting his experience to the food textures felt in the mouth only. On the other hand, eating with hands adds a concrete dimension to your mealtime by engaging all your senses.
4. Provides Healthy Bacteria
Many healthy bacteria inhabit the skin of the hands. This healthy flora can safeguard the body from the onslaught of other destructive bacteria that invade from the outside environment. Eating with hands can thus aid in boosting our digestive system’s natural immunity to ecological bacterial germs. However, be sure to wash your hands properly before eating and also to trim your nails.
5. Prevents Burning of Tongue
Your hands can work as temperature sensors as well. When an individual eats with a fork, he may not realise how hot the food is for it goes straight from the platter into his mouth. In contrast, when you touch the food while eating it with your hands, the nerve endings of your fingertips convey a temperature reading to the brain, thus stopping you from burning your tongue.
6. Benefits Our Chakras
As fingers place the food into the mouth, they tend to curve in a yogic mudra which stimulates the sensory organs that maintain the prana balance. According to Vedas, the fingertips are correlated to the third eye, heart, throat, solar plexus, sexual, root chakras. So, when we consume food with hands, the touch and action trigger the chakras and profits us tremendously.
7. It Is Natural
Eating with hands is a common practice in many cultures, especially Indian, because Indian cuisine is such that it feels like the most natural thing to do. Now imagine having dal and roti with fork and knife? Or trying to eat a non-vegetarian delicacy consisting of bones with a fork? It is quite impractical. Thus, hands are preferred over fine cutlery.
8. Increases Blood Circulation
Eating with hands is healthy as it can prove to be a wonderful muscle exercise that may in turn help in increasing blood circulation. The hand’s movements may assist in promoting better flow of blood, thus positively affecting the overall well-being of the body.
9. Discourages Overeating
Eating with hands may allow you to have your food slowly and deliberately which can help you feel full even with less food thus preventing binge eating and likely weight gain. It also encourages a sense of satiety or satisfaction which is lacking while using cutlery to have your food.
10. Reduces the Risk of Type-2 Diabetes
Research shows that type-2 diabetic patients are probably hasty eaters. This is because they use cutlery to eat when compared to individuals who don’t have the condition. Eating fast has been connected to blood sugar disparities in the body, thus being a factor in the occurrence of type-2 diabetes.
Indians tend to attach a lot of value to food, both while preparing and relishing it. When it comes to eating, most Indians may do so with hands unlike the Western culture of using fancy cutlery. And the practice does have its advantages. So the next time you want to relish food, consider tossing the cutlery to sample the dishes with hands.