Chewing gum is probably something that you don’t think much of. Maybe you keep a pack in your pocket for whenever you need to freshen your breath, but those high school days of chewing gum throughout the day are long gone. But what if by not chewing gum like we used to, we’re actually missing out? As it turns out, chewing gum every day actually has a whole host of health benefits. We’ll be covering everything you need to know in this Article.
Chewing gum is far from a new thing. In fact, records show that people have been chewing gum in various forms for thousands of years. Most people think chewing gum comes from tree bark, like it used to, but nowadays, it’s mainly made up of synthetic rubber. The exact recipe behind a stick of chewing gum is a secret, but manufacturers usually combine gum, resin, softeners, flavourings, and even antioxidants. Of course, like most things in life, too much gum chewing can cause problems. Excessive gum chewing has been found to cause migraines, especially in young adults. However, numerous studies have linked moderate gum chewing to a fair few benefits.
Here are 12 surprising benefits of chewing a stick of gum every day.
1. Improves Concentration and Memory
Struggle to stay focused throughout the day? Your answer might be as simple as chewing a piece of gum. Multiple studies have shown that chewing gum is linked to an increase in mental performance. Cognitive functions, like concentration, memory, and reaction times, were seen to improve when research participants chewed gum.
It is thought that this boost comes from increased blood flow to the brain through chewing. Some studies show that chewing gum can increase blood flow by as much as a 25 to 40 percent. Why is this so helpful? Well, it’s exactly what our brains need to thrive. Increased blood flow in turn increases oxygen to the brain, which helps to enhance memory and other cognitive functions.
2. Improves Wakefulness
Another common issue for adults across the world is staying awake. Who would have thought it would be so hard to make it through the day without a power nap? But with many of us failing to get enough sleep, or a high enough quality of sleep, it’s no wonder staying awake proves such a challenge.
Once again, chewing gum comes to the rescue. In addition to memory, many studies have also shown that chewing gum can increase alertness. The chewing movement of your jaw is said to stimulate nerves and parts of the brain associated with arousal, as well as increasing blood flow. According to experts, this may help people feel more awake or stay awake longer. Mint-flavoured gum is thought to be especially useful for this purpose.
3. Combats Stress and Anxiety
We’re all faced with stressful situations from time to time, but when anxiety and stress become a daily thing, it’s time to take action against it. There are, of course, may ways to combat stress, but if you’re looking for a simple method you can implement today, all you’ll need is a pack of gum.
Apparently chewing on some gum can be a great substitute for nervous habits, like nail biting and leg shaking, when you’re feeling stressed. This is backed up by one study, which showed that gum chewing helped reduce the stress hormone, cortisol, in many test subjects. So not only does chewing gum help reduce your anxious behaviour, it can also decrease your anxiety from the inside.
4. Protects Teeth
It’s rare that dentists will recommend foods that aren’t considered super healthy, but The American Dental Association actually advises chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals, as it's been proven to reduce plaque, promote tooth enamel, reduce cavities, and reduce gingivitis.
The reason behind this is that chewing gum increases the production of saliva, which helps to reduce the plaque on your teeth that causes decay. Just make sure your gum is sugarless, as sugar-containing gums can, of course, add to plaque build-up. Look for gums that contain an ingredient called xylitol too, which can reduce certain decay-causing bacteria. An extra bonus of chewing gum after meals is that it’ll give you a quick burst of sweetness that will help reduce your cravings for dessert.
5. Reduces Acid Reflux and Heartburn
If you battle acid reflux and heartburn, you’ll know all about how difficult the symptoms are to manage. Acid reflux and other indigestion issues can be caused by seemingly anything, and at their worst, they can lead to symptoms like severe stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, and a burning feeling in the throat.
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