Using chair and table at the time of eating is quite common nowadays. This was originally the practice of the western countries and, later on, was imbibed by other countries. It is now an inalienable part of the Indian culture as well. It is considered decent, modern and gracious to have food sitting on chair.
In India, the traditional practice is to sit cross-legged in Sukhasana while having meals. Sitting on chair, however, has taken over the traditional practice and the last five decades have seen a large number of people adopting it. However, the trend is changing again and people are increasingly adopting on-ground sitting posture not just for eating food but also for almost everything which can be done sitting down on floor.
Eating food should be a mindful exercise and shifting from your office chair/sofa at home to another chair to have a meal doesn’t give the brain an incentive to shift gears. It continues to vibrate at the same frequency. Food, for which most of us work, just becomes another routine chore – Aashish Nanda.
The merits and demerits of having food while sitting on chair basically derives from long-time chair sitting postures. If you are sitting on chair only for having food and are not otherwise sitting for a large part of the day, there are less chances of problems arising. However, if your work involves sitting down too much then eating food while eating comes with the same set of problems.
Advantages of eating while sitting on Chair
1/2. Can activate mindful eating
There is a belief that so long as you are not rushing with the meals and are eating these mindfully, it is okay to sit in chair while having food. Mindful eating helps you eat slowly and just the right amount.
2/2. Reduces acid reflux probability
Further, by sitting with a straight spine, you ensure that the eaten food is not making a reflux back to oesophagus. This situation arises when you bend too much while eating food and this condition does not happen in case of sitting on chair.
Disadvantages of eating while sitting on Chair
Sitting on chair while eating food has more disadvantages than advantages. Sitting on chair postures comes with certain issues which indirectly affect the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients in the body. These problems increase the levels of stress which prevent you from being mindful while eating. Rather, the nagging pains or restless muscles do not let you focus on savouring the food.
1/3. Can block the Nerves
Sitting long hours without changing posture is the major cause of back-pain and neck (cervical) pain because of the stress-causing postures. It blocks proper blood circulation in the nerves. Sitting on chair causes blockage of nerves passing through lower back, pelvis and thigh area which can cause stress. The blood which remains in legs does not get circulated properly and this can cause numbness or burning sensation. There is no way you can eat with focus with these problems arising while sitting on chair.
2/3. Improper Digestion
For digestion to occur properly, there shall be a no-stress situation. With nerves under stress, there is restlessness while sitting on chair and this will not allow for proper digestion of food as energies of body are consumed in “fight or flight” response to the stress.
3/3. Improper Vagus Nerve function
It has been found that vagus nerve does not function properly while sitting on chair while eating. Due to this, the brain does not get the right signals with respect to satiation. This makes people eat more or less.
Eating food while sitting on chair is not recommended although it is the most widely used practice.