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Chewing Gum Reduces Stress, Anxiety

A study recently presented at the 10th International Congress of Behavioral Medicine found that chewing gum may help reduce anxiety, improve alertness, and relieve stress.

Andrew Scholey, a professor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia led the study that included 40 participants.

The participants took part in an exercise called the Defined Intensity Stressor Simulation (DISS) with, and then without chewing gum. The DISS is used to induce stress through multitasking scenarios while simultaneously measuring performance levels. Anxiety, stress, and alertness were measured before and after the participants completed the simulation.

By measuring levels of salivary cortisol, a known stress marker, the researchers found a 16 percent decrease in stress during mild stress scenarios and 12 percent decrease while under moderate stress. Participants chewing gum also experienced a reduction in anxiety while under both mild and moderate stress conditions.

Additionally, researchers noted improved alertness and better overall performance in multitasking abilities when the participants were chewing gum.

This study is not the first to highlight the cognitive benefits of chewing gum. For instance, a study by the University of Northumbria and the Cognitive Research Unit in England found that the act of chewing gum improves short and long term memory by as much as 35 percent.

Chewing gum has also been associated with promotion of weight loss, improved digestion, fewer cavities, and better concentration. When choosing a type of gum make sure it is sugar free, preservative free, and free of artificial sweeteners like aspartame.
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