The tradition of eating food with the hands is called Kamayan meaning “with hands.” Kamayan is an ancient tradition in many areas of the Middle East because it is believed that eating with the hands rather than utensils has benefits.
Why you should eat with your hands, Health Benefits:
The chakra connection
The practice of eating with one’s hands, specifically your fingers, has its origin in Ayurvedic. It propagates the teaching that our bodies are in sync with the five elements of nature, and each finger is an extension of one of these five elements.
- The thumb is an extension of space;
- The forefinger is an extension of air;
- The middle finger is an extension of fire;
- The ring finger is an extension of water;
- The little finger is an extension of the earth.
When using your hands, you are supposed to utilize all fingers together. This brings together all of nature’s elements and brings awareness to the texture, taste, aromas, and temperature of the food.
This is one of the believed health benefits that can come from eating with hands. This is said because of the ingestion of “Normal Flora” that occurs. Normal Flora is bacteria found on the palms and fingers that protect the skin and body from harmful environmental microbes. Ingesting this helps keep several areas of the body healthy and improves digestion.
Eating with the hands can prevent over-eating.
It promotes mindful eating. Psychologically, eating with your hands makes you pay attention to what you’re eating. Eating with your hands may allow you to have your food slowly and deliberately, which can help you feel full even with less food. This prevents binge eating which is a cause for weight gain.
It regulates mouth temperature:
Your hands act as an effective temperature sensor. When we touch our food before putting it into our mouths, the millions of nerve endings on the tips of our fingers get a temperature and texture reading that is immediately sent to the stomach. So, you are less likely to put food that is too hot into your mouth, effectively preventing you from scalding your tongue.
Better 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 a better flow of blood, thus positively affecting the overall well-being of the body.
Prevents type 2 diabetes
Research shows that type-2 diabetic patients are probably hasty eaters. This is because they use cutlery to eat, as compared to individuals who don’t have the condition. Eating fast has been connected to blood sugar disparities in the body, thus being a big factor in type-2 diabetes.
Things to remember:
Don’t bring the plate to your mouth — lower your head instead — take small amounts of food each time, make sure the food does not touch your palms, and don’t put your fingers into your mouth. The secret? Use your thumbs to push the food inside. While some think eating with your hands makes the food taste better (you’re able to mix the food to a consistency you like), others believe it feeds your mind, not just your stomach, by offering a personal connection with your food.
Note: Wash your hands properly before eating with your hands.