One afternoon while making a toasted cucumber and cheese sandwich with mayo, a beautiful reaction took place. In anticipation and hunger for this meal, I began the process of digestion without having had one bite. I started salivating. What is this process and what of its utility?
This beautiful fluid that you produce in the amount of three pints per day is a health drink for your teeth and oral cavity among many other things. It has antibacterial properties keeping cavities at bay. A close cousin to that other body fluid, blood, it delivers important minerals like calcium and phosphorus. It is essential for working your food into a form that you can swallow making hard foods softer and safe on the passage through your body.
Saliva balances the acidity in your stomach and may prevent heartburn. It also helps keep your gut bacteria robust and healthy. Saliva is and has always been (for almost 2000 years!) an overall marker for one’s overall health. Without happy salivary glands we can get into some body distress.
The next time you sit down to or prepare your next meal, send a salutation to your saliva. Give thanks for it and marvel at its contribution to your health.
If you want to keep a steady supply of saliva going life long be sure to drink plenty of fluids, watch the alcohol (can dry a mouth out) and eat fibrous foods (apples, celery and carrots) which are often high in fluid and help move the saliva around.
Sing a song for your saliva today! In the words of Joni Mitchell, you don’t know what you got till its gone.