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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. He is also the founding editor of Web Writer Spotlight.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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