Mindful Eating: The Mental and Physical Benefits Behind It


Mindfulness is a key principle of intuitive eating, and for a good reason. Mindful eating has been linked to several health benefits, both physically and mentally. Incorporating mindful eating as part of your normal routine can not only improve physical health markers, but it helps build the foundation for fostering a healthy relationship with your body and your food.


Mindfulness Lowers Blood Pressure

One of the lesser known effects of mindful eating is the reduction in blood pressure. Eric B. Loucks, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology and director of the Mindfulness Center at Brown University, conducted a study in which a mindfulness based program reduced systolic blood pressure after just six months. 

The Mindfulness-Based Blood Pressure Reduction program focused on training participants in skills such as attention control, self-awareness and emotion regulation. The half of participants enrolled in the mindfulness train program showed a 5.9 mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure. While this study did not use mindful eating as one of its program techniques, the techniques used are all applicable to eating habits. 


Mindful Eating Helps Understand Body Cues

Mindful eating can help develop the skills needed to be aware of and accept thoughts and emotions without judgment while eating. It can also help you understand the distinction between emotional and physical body cues. Developing mindful eating skills can improve your ability to cope with the psychological distress that sometimes leads to binge eating.


Mindful Eating Helps With Stress Reduction

Mindful eating has been linked to a reduction in stress due to its effects on the nervous system. Mindfulness practices require the body to shift the nervous system toward parasympathetic nervous system dominance, which supports the rest-and-digest state. This state is marked by lower blood pressure, decreased breath rate, increased digestion, and lower cortisol output, which is the body’s main stress hormone.


Mindful Eating Leads To Better Digestion

Mindful eating practices such as eating slowly, meditation, eating without distractions, engaging your senses, and listening to hunger cues can contribute to positive impacts on the digestion process. Some of these benefits include increased effectiveness of salivary enzymes, increased pancreatic enzyme secretion, and  increased peristalsis– or the movement of food through the digestive tracts.


Mindful Eating Can Increase Satisfaction With Food

When using mindful eating techniques like sensing all aspects of food and slowing down during meals, we learn to enjoy our food more and notice what it does for our mind and body. Taking extra time to observe food, think about the smell and the texture, and chewing slowly and thoroughly can all lead to more enjoyable eating experiences. In turn this creates a joyful relationship with food where we can appreciate what it does for our bodies.


How To Work On Mindful Eating

Implementing mindful eating doesn’t have to be a challenge. Starting with eating slower, eating without distractions (TV, phone, computer), or taking note of your senses as you eat can help you reap the benefits of mindful eating. Our dietitian collective here at Food Ease are also experts in mindful eating and can help you with implementing these habits. Sign up for our group coaching or one:one services to learn how to navigate mindful eating with a professional. 



Cherpak, C. E. (2019, August). Mindful eating: A review of how the stress-digestion-mindfulness triad may modulate and improve gastrointestinal and digestive function. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.). Retrieved November 14, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7219460/

Hsph.harvard.edu. (n.d.). Retrieved November 14, 2022, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/mindful-eating/

Person, Kalvaitis, K., & Kalvaitis is a medical journalist an editor. She received her BA in Communications and Journalism from Rowan University. Kalvaitis has been in medical publishing since 2006. She is an Editorial Director at Healio, focusing on cardiology. (2022, November 6). Mindfulness may offer an ‘appealing approach’ to lower blood pressure. Healio. Retrieved November 14, 2022, from https://www.healio.com/news/cardiology/20221106/mindfulness-may-offer-an-appealing-approach-to-lower-blood-pressure

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