While many see chewing gum merely as a means of quickly improving one’s breath, recent scientific studies have also pointed out a number of cognitive benefits afforded by the practice. This research counters the popular belief that chewing gum impedes certain physical activities (i.e. the old saw about chewing gum and walking), or makes it more difficult to concentrate. In fact, chewing gum can have a very real impact on many aspects of one’s life, from offering assistance to dieters to enhancing mental ability when concentration wanes.
Stimulate Brain Activity
One way chewing gum can be beneficial to boosting mental faculties involves stimulating nerves to help increase brain activity. For instance, chewing has an impact on the trigeminal nerve, which springs the jaw muscles into action. This can have an effect on mental acuity due to the reward response often triggered by chewing. Chewing signals to the brain that nutrients are on their way, which then results in an enhancement of mental ability. As a result, gum chewing can serve to increase energy between meals, which can be extremely helpful during long work days.
The process described above can also help increase alertness a great deal. This is especially true when a person is sleep-deprived, which can result in a diminished capacity to act swiftly. The process of chewing can counter the effects of sleepiness, thereby increasing concentration and reaction time. This explains why ball players are particularly fond of chewing gum when on the mound. Environmental awareness is essential in this profession, and a stick of chewing gum provides a fast and simple way to boost cognitive function in a pinch.
Reduce Hunger Pangs
Another benefit of chewing gum involves quelling those distracting hunger pangs that can inhibit concentration throughout the day. In this case, small amounts of sugar within gum will diminish mounting hunger even further, allowing you to go longer between meals without sacrificing essential mental ability. For those seeking to improve dietary habits, chewing gum can even be a low-calorie way to ward off poor eating habits. Smokers may also use gum to help kick the habit without risking the associated weight gain befalling many who attempt to quit.
A Quick Boost When You Need It Most
Of course, chewing gum is no substitute for a good night’s sleep or a strong cup of coffee when it comes to increasing alertness and focus. However, the above shows that chewing gum supplies a quick and convenient cognitive boost in many different situations. This can be highly useful for those with busy lifestyles, where remaining mentally alert is of the utmost importance.