I like to chew gum, I always have. I actually consider myself to be somewhat of a gum connoisseur. For me, chewing gum helps keep me on track and satisfies my sweet tooth so that I don’t reach for junk food. But, these are not the only benefits of chewing gum. In fact, research attests that there are many advantages to keeping a pack of your favorite sugar-free gum in your back pocket or purse. Let’s take a closer look at seven of these benefits.
Chewing gum improves memory
Numerous studies show that chewing gum can boost mental performance and improve cognitive functions including memory, concentration and reaction times, Researchers think that these benefits come from the fact that chewing gum increases blood flow to the brain. Some studies even show as much as a 25%-40% increase. Better blood flow means increased oxygen to the brain which enhances memory and cognitive functioning. In 2000, researchers from Japan showed that brain activity in the hippocampus ( an important area for memory), increased when people chewed gum.
Chewing gum reduces anxiety
When I am nervous I always reach for a stick of gum. I find that it reduces nervous energy and helps alleviate stress. I used to be a nail biter but switched that habit for gum. I know other people who say that chewing gum keeps them from shaking their leg, talking too much or getting butterflies. Studies show that chewing gum reduces the amount of stress hormone, cortisol.
Chewing gum fights nausea
If you suffer from morning sickness or motion sickness, try chewing your favorite gum. Herbal gums with ginger are especially helpful because they help reduce stomach acid and inflammation.
Chewing gum relieves dry mouth and improves oral hygiene
Chewing sugarless gum can increase saliva up to ten times the resting rate. If you have issues with dry mouth, give it a try. It is a known fact that saliva is the body’s natural defense against tooth decay as it neutralizes and buffers plaque acids. This helps to support healthy tooth enamel and reduce the risk factors associated with developing tooth decay.
Chewing gum reduces acid reflux and heartburn
Chewing cinnamon gum after meals have been found to alleviate acid reflux and pain and discomfort associated with reflux. As mentioned, chewing helps increase saliva production which neutralizes stomach acid. In addition, chewing gum also encourages you to swallow more which helps clear acid from the esophagus. Avoid peppermint and spearmint flavors though as they tend to make symptoms worse.
Chewing gum helps keep your weight in check
Anytime I am trying to drop a few pounds I chew more gum. Gum is a low calorie and inexpensive way to reduce cravings for unhealthy foods. Some studies have found that adults who chewed gum at 36 calories less on a daily basis. As a bonus, chewing gum can also burn about 11 calories per hour.
Chewing gum helps keep you awake
If ever I have to make a long car trip, I always chew gum. Studies have shown that chewing gum increases alertness. It is thought that the movement of the jaw stimulates nerves and parts of the brain that are associated with arousal. As mentioned, chewing also increases blood flow which helps you feel more awake. Mint is the best flavor if you need to stay alert.
What type of gum is best?
The absolute best gums to chew are those made with herbal ingredients and natural sweeteners. By all means, stay away from gum made with refined sugar as this can cause health problems. You also have to be careful not to choose gums that are made with chemicals or other artificial ingredients.
Here is my list of cleanest gums available and what they are made with:
Train Gum: Contains only four ingredients including chicle, natural oils, simple syrup and rice flour.
Chicza Organic Rainforest Gum: This is the only gum that has a USDA Organic seal. It is made with evaporated cane juice, chicle, glucose, agave syrup and natural flavorings.
Simply Gum: This gum is mostly organic and made with chicle, dried cane juice, vegetable glycerin, sunflower lecithin, rice flour and natural flavorings.
Glee Gum: Glee is the only non-GMO verified gum made with Fair Trade cane sugar, brown rice syrup, and xylitol.