As long as you are not walking and chewing at the same time, chewing gum is actually a very healthy exercise for your brain.
It is possible that chewing gum at the same while you are walking can cause the brain to lose focus and get distracted, much similar to how we fee while texting. Could be possible that chewing gum causes us to lose track of our thoughts because our mind is busy on chewing out all the flavors? A recent study introduces us to a surprising concept: chewing gum can actually help the mind be more focused and attentive towards the tasks at hand.
The Nutritional Neuroscience journal recently published a study that attempted to unravel the mysteries of the mind while chewing gum, and it is surprising that a researcher would actually find the time and resources to study the underlying mechanisms of chewing gum.
So far, medical science has revealed that chewing gum helps the brain become more focused and alert, but it is also capable of bringing about certain variable effects on our attentiveness. If you are sleepy and fatigued, the advantages of chewing gum are rather significant. Even if you are struggling to be more attentive in class or while playing a game, chewing gum can make you feel more alert. Research reveals that in this regard, caffeinated chewing gum is much more effective that it’s non-caffeinated counterparts.
Many people have confessed that chewing gum makes it easier for them to multi-task and perform various activities at once. We often meet and know many people who always keep a hoard of gums, and keep chewing while working, typing or talking over the phone.
How can Chewing Gum Bring about all these Advantages?
It is incredible how the simple act of chewing gum is capable of bringing about so many benefits. It is an established fact that chewing activates the reward mechanisms of the brain, and it can be stimulating because it indicates that nutrients are being transferred towards the brain to replenish it. Moreover, arousal is also triggered by the trigeminal nerve, which stimulates the jaw muscles by supplying them with nerves.
Furthermore, various gum varieties pack up a tiny amount of sugar, which stimulates the brain by reducing the appetite and hunger. Many people have confessed that chewing gum aids them in fighting off the need to eat, or sudden unwanted hangs of hunger, along with cravings for nicotine, tea or coffee.
The researchers who undertook this research maintain a strict control to make sure the results are not influenced by any complex effects induced by various gum varieties that stimulate the oral chewing experience. Thus, the participants in the study were given gums like Extra Peppermint, Extra Spearmint, Extra Cool Breeze, Extra Ice, Airwaves Menthol and Eucalyptus, Airwaves Green Mint, Airwaves Cherry, and Airwaves Black Mint.
Chewing gum brings about marked increases in mental alertness and focus, it allows the brain to readily accept and encode newly acquired information, and it also speeds up the reaction time of the brain. It helps the mind may more attention and feel more focused even while multitasking. Moreover, contrary to popular belief, chewing gum does not hinder the brain’s ability to be focused by distracting it from the tasks at hand.
However, these benefits disappear as soon as you spit out the gum you were chewing, leaving behind no carryover benefits. So, the brain will only remain alert and focused until you are chewing the gum, and these effects will disappear as soon as you stop chewing. Now, that’s a surprise!
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- Statista: “U.S. Population: Do You Chew Chewing Gum / Bubble Gum?”
- BioMed Research International: “Chewing Gum: Cognitive Performance, Mood, Well-Being, and Associated Physiology”
- Journal of Prosthodontic Research: “Influence of Chewing Time on Salivary Stress Markers”
- Physiology and Behavior: “The effect of Chewing Gum on Physiological and Self-Rated Measures of Alertness and Daytime Sleepiness”
- American Dental Association: “Saliva”
- Flushing Hospital Medical Center: “Are There Dangers Associated With Excessive Gum Chewing?”