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10 Surprising Benefits Of Chewing Gum

10 Surprising Benefits Of Chewing Gum

Many people pop gum into their mouths while walking, driving, or sitting somewhere to ward off bad breath or satisfy a craving for something sweet without giving it much thought. But, if you stop to think about it, you realize that chewing gum has many other amazing benefits.

Of course, like most things in life, too much gum chewing can cause problems. Excessive gum chewing can cause migraines in adolescents. However, numerous studies have linked moderate gum chewing to a host of surprising benefits.

Here are ten surprising benefits of chomping on a stick of gum.

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1. Chewing gum helps improve eating habits and manage weight

A study out of Louisiana State University showed that people who chewed gum after eating lunch had less food cravings later in the day. They were also less likely to eat high-calorie foods if they had chewed gum once an hour for three hours after eating lunch. So, while chewing gum won’t automatically melt the pounds, it will ward off food cravings, helping you eat less and manage your weight gain.

2. Chewing gum helps improve memory and cognitive performance

It’s been shown that chewing gum increases the flow of blood to the brain by 25 to 40 percent. An increase in flow of blood to the brain results in an increase in the amount of oxygen delivered to the brain, which in turn increases brain function efficiency. Cognitive functions like memory, concentration, and reaction times improve when people chew gum.

Andrew Sholey, a professor at the British Sciences Institute in Australia, has found that short-term memory improves by up to 35 percent just by chomping on a stick of gum. However, chewing too much will interfere with short-term memory, he cautions.

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3. Chewing gum helps to release nervous energy and combat stress and anxiety

Psychologists have for years known that chewing gum helps to ease tension and release nervous energy by reducing the stress hormone cortisol in the body. When you chomp on a stick of gum in emotionally charged situations, you are likely to feel calmer and more alert. Actually, chewing gum can be a good substitute for nervous habits like leg-shaking or nail-biting when you’re feeling anxious.

4. Chewing gum helps improve digestion

Although chewing gum does not directly help you digest food, it improves the performance of your digestive system. The way it does this is by stimulating the flow of saliva in the mouth, which, in turn, promotes easier swallowing and activates the digestive processes, including the flow of bile and other helpful acids and enzymes that digest food. When you chew gum after a meal, these digestive chemicals are released and help to avoid indigestion.

5. Chewing gum helps relieve acid reflux and heartburn

Chewing gum after meals also relieves acid reflux and other symptoms of heartburn by reducing acid in the esophagus. Increased saliva production in the mouth is to thank for this. Avoid chewing when you have not eaten, though, as production of these digestive acids can cause bloating.

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6. Chewing gum helps prevent tooth decay

The best way to prevent tooth decay is to brush your teeth regularly, but we all know we can’t always brush our teeth after every meal. Chewing sugar-free gum is the next best alternative to prevent tooth decay. The American Dental Association recommends chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after meals, as it has been shown to reduce cavities, plaque, and gingivitis, as well as promote tooth enamel. Just make sure your gum is sugar-free—sugar-containing gums promote tooth decay.

7. Chewing gum helps relieve dry mouth

Because chewing gum stimulates saliva production up to 10 times the resting rate, it’s a huge help in reversing oral dryness, and the problems and discomfort associated with dry mouth.

8. Chewing gum helps fight cold symptoms

Catching a cold is never fun. The symptoms of the cold—buildup of phlegm and mucus—are not desirable either. Thankfully, chewing mint gum can help break up some of this nastiness, although you may eventually need to get a heavy duty over-the-counter pill to completely move that phlegm and mucus.

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9. Chewing gum helps fight dependence on addictive stimulants

This benefit comes down to the physical act of gum chewing. When you chew gum, it not only reduces cravings for snacks, but also reduces (or provides a helpful diversion) from cravings for stimulants like nicotine and caffeine. So, if you are trying to quit smoking or break similar addictive habits, chewing gum is a handy strategy to add to your arsenal.

10. Chewing gum helps treat earworms

Earworms are incredibly common—90% of us are victims of the earworm at least once a week. An earworm is a catchy piece of music that gets stuck in our heads and no matter what we do, we can’t seem to dislodge it. While earworms are not harmful, they can be really distracting and totally unpleasant sometimes. Most of us are helpless against them, and just suffer through it. But, you don’t have to suffer through it. Researchers at the University of Reading, UK have identified a cure for earworms. The best way to treat earworms is to chew gum. Now that is something to chew on!

Featured photo credit: Guilherme Yagui via flickr.com

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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