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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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