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Chewing Gum Fights Stress?

My favorite candy, chewing gum, not only fights heartburn, but it looks like it may also help conquer stress. Chomping on a piece of gum, and may I add that the gum should definitely be sugar-free, was found to decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol by 17 percent. In recent laboratory tests, chewing gum also increased alertness and improved performance. It sounds like a winning combination but might be a bit more complicated than unwrapping a stick of gum.

While working your jaw, chewing gum may increase the flow of blood to your brain helping you think more clearly, but it can also tire out the muscles of the jaw and lead to overuse injuries of the joint, like TMJ. For full disclosure, I should mention that the study on gum for stress release was funded by gum maker Wrigley, who is "committed to advancing and sharing scientific research that explores the benefits of chewing gum." While I thoroughly enjoy chewing gum, I think I will also stick to my free and injury-free stress reduction technique, breathing. How about you?


Join The Conversation
jenni_po jenni_po 8 years
Not a bad idea as an occasional stress-reliever, but because of TMJ I don't think it's a great idea to chew a lot of gum on a daily basis. Also, chewing gum causes you to swallow air which can make you bloated, so I try to drink water or tea instead. :)
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Hmmmm I did not know this...
cupcakers cupcakers 8 years
I've noticed that chewing gum calms me down, I am not addicted to it but I always have gum with me. Day before New Year's Even I was on a long road trip in a snow storm and I felt like I was having a panic attack and would faint any second while driving. I did some breathing exercises I learned from yoga and chewed gum, made me feel better.
Feesje Feesje 8 years
I don't chew gum. I think it's ridiculous to only chew something and not eat it. Plus: it never looks good on anyone.
kscincotta kscincotta 8 years
I used to chew gum all the time until I started getting INSANE headaches after even just ten minutes of chewing. Definitely a TMJ-related something or other. That was about eight years ago and I think I've had less than a pack of gum total since then. It's worth it to skip the headaches.
michlny michlny 8 years
I'm addicted to gum and chew a pack a day -- however, I worry about all that artificial can't be good :(
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
huh - i never thought about a few of these benefits to chewing gum, but it just goes to show that my habit isn't all for naught :) that's good to hear that i'll have increased blood flow to my brain to think more clearly, given that sometimes i wonder if i'm thinking clearly at all :)
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