Chewing Gum May Be 'Miracle Drug' for Your Brain

gum packageGreat news for Trident/DoubleMint/Wrigley fans of the world: A new study from the journal Brain and Cognition reveals that chewing gum is "good for the brain" and apparently increases alertness by 10 whole percent! Ooo! The deets: Researchers found that people who were chewing gum had a faster reaction time to a test than those who were not chewing.

Interesting ... But actually, are we all that surprised? We've heard the praises of gum sung for yeeears!


Like dieters are always encouraged to grab a piece to chew on when they're trying to distract themselves from eating something they probably shouldn't. Smokers are encouraged to chew gum instead of lighting one up. And yeah, sometimes that's a great place to start, I'm sure, but honestly, it could also be seen as replacing one bad habit with another. Because, really, who wants to have to rely on smacking and chomping and chewing gum all day? Eww.

I can't help it ... When I think of chronic gum chewers, I think of Britney Spears' disastrous 2006 Dateline interview with Matt Lauer ...  You know the one, where she opened the door and clearly had no handlers making sure she didn't look like hell and ended up crying and oh yeah, smacking her gum the entire time. Ugggghhh, gross! I also think of how people tend to litter it on the street or swallow it ... And all the nasty chemicals, additives, artificial colorings, etc. it's often made with. (Which is why most types lose their flavor pretty quickly and suddenly make you want to gag.)

All right, maybe as a once in a while thing, for breath freshening, fine. (You could also grab a mint or brush your teeth ... Just sayin'.) But relying on gum to be more focused -- especially only 10 percent more focused -- may be a slippery slope. Seems to me there are plenty of other, less icky ways to cultivate a better attention span and healthy brain.

Are you a gum fan? Do you think it offers surprising health benefits?


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