Chew this one over: if your memory is crashing on you lately, the solution may lie in a simple stick. According to recent studies from a team of psychologists at St Lawrence University, cognitive function and overall test performance were significantly improved when subjects were chomping on gum. Ultimately, it’s believed that this valuable mental boost derives from the observed increase of heart rate and blood flow. The medical results certainly proved this to a T: brain activity in the hippocampus, an area important for concentration and reaction times, was significantly sparked and delivery of oxygen to the brain was increased by as much as 25 to 40 per cent.
Reduces stress and anxiety
Do you ever feel better biting your nails and shaking your legs when you’re nervous? Well the same concept applies here; nibbling on some gum serves as a fantastic substitute for instinctual nervous habits. But don’t just take our word for it: In a 2011 study, participants who chewed gum twice a day for 14 days rated their anxiety significantly less than the non-chewers, reporting higher moods and lower fatigue levels. Scientifically speaking, it was shown that gum chewing can significantly reduce the stress hormone cortisol because the simple act of chewing is calming for most people. Now that’s something to cheer – or chew – about!
Helps you lose weight
If you’re slammed with a case of the midday munchies, popping in some gum over that bag of chips may be beneficial to your weight-loss regimen. Not only does this cut your kilojoule count, the gum will start to act as a ‘signal’ over time that you don’t need to eat anymore. This effectively curbs your cravings and makes you consume less. Medical studies show that the biggest benefit comes from those who reach for a stick of gum instead of reaching snacks between meals. The mindless nibbling has been proven to help suppress appetite; research from the University of Rhode Island showed that people who chewed gum ended up swallowing 67 per cent fewer kilojoules at lunchtime than non-gum chewers.