Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty lived to be 89 years of age. Historians have studied the life and habits of this health-conscious king and found that his long life might mainly lie on one simple act that he did daily — swallowing saliva.
Here are some health benefits of swallowing saliva.
Saliva helps the absorption of nutrients
Your body needs nutrients to maintain its daily functions. To facilitate the absorption of nutrients, amylase is an important element. It is the first agent that begins the chemical process of digestion and is contained in our saliva. It breaks down food particles for further processing.
Saliva is secreted through chewing. The more you chew, the more saliva is induced and the better the breakdown. That is why dieticians advise that you should chew thoroughly before swallowing. It allows for better and easier digestion and getting the most basic substances out of the whole process.
Saliva kills bacteria
Saliva contains enzymes that kill bacteria in your mouth and keeps the oral ecosystem in balance.
The mouth is a warm bed for germs, but the antibacterial agents in saliva keep them in check and protect you from potentially dangerous diseases. As you swallow, your saliva kills bacteria in the digestive system, helps strengthen the gastric and intestinal linings, and maintains them in a healthy condition.
Folk wisdom says that you can suck on freshly-cut fingers to stop the bleeding and prevent infection. Animals also lick their wounds and cuts. It is all because of the antibacterial properties of saliva.
Saliva boosts immunity
Scientists find that lysozyme in saliva can attack, break down, and excrete pathogens out of the body. The antimicrobial enzyme forms part of the innate immune system. It keeps bad germs in check and improves immunity.
Saliva fights against aging
Historical data recorded that Emperor Qianlong still rode and hunted at 80. Joining the king’s 83rd birthday ceremony, a British court representative described him as agile, charming, and not looking old at all. His smiling face made him look no more than 60 years old. Such a discrepancy in age and looks relied on Qianlong’s habit of swallowing saliva.
Studies have shown that the parotid hormones in saliva can effectively reduce oxygen free radicals in the human body and help fight against aging. As secretion levels diminish with age, purposeful swallowing of saliva daily can pump up the hormone level and restrain the aging process.
Translated by CC and edited by Helen