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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?

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