Skip to main content

BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

4 simple ways chewing gum gives your brain a boost

Jan 29, 2024 10:12AM ● By Suzy Cohen

We’re all aware of how easily our minds tend to wander, making us less productive. It may be hard to believe, but chewing gum may be the key to boosting your brain power, suggests the Parkinson’s Resource Organization. 

Their findings indicate that chewing gum during the workday is linked to increased productivity and fewer cognitive problems. 

Here are four ways chewing gum may help you stay focused:

1. Boosts blood flow
Chewing gum can slightly increase blood flow to the brain by 25-40%. This boost in blood flow may lead to better cognitive performance, improved attention and increased alertness, if only for a short time. Continuous chewing also activates your hippocampus, the part of your brain that’s crucial to your memory and learning.

2. Releases dopamine
Studies suggest that gum chewing stimulates the release of dopamine, a brain chemical that plays a significant role in our ability to focus. It’s not just chewing—it’s a neurologically engaging process that enhances cognitive function.

3. Enhances multitasking
Chewing gum may help you tackle your never-ending to-do list by keeping your jaw busy. Experts believe it acts as a motivator, making it easier to tackle tedious tasks. The involvement of dopamine may play a role in this effect. 

4. Reduces stress
Life can be stressful, and chewing gum has been linked to lower cortisol levels in the brain (cortisol can make one feel anxious). While not all studies agree, some suggest that gum chewing relieves stress by reducing the sensory processing of external stressors and inhibiting stress-related information in the brain stress network.

Chewing gum for a few minutes could be the secret weapon to help you power through tasks like sorting mail, writing a blog or creating graphics. 

Beyond its productivity perks, chewing gum offers additional health benefits. A study published in the journal “Appetite” discovered that chewing gum for at least 45 minutes or 15 minutes per hour for three hours resulted in reduced appetite, decreased cravings and an increased feeling of fullness. This suggests that regular gum chewing could assist in consuming fewer calories, potentially aiding in weight loss by preventing overeating. 

It’s good for your oral health, too! Chewing gum increases saliva flow, which helps wash away harmful sugars, food debris and decay-causing acids from your mouth. It can fight bad breath, prevent stains, reduce plaque and protect against cavities and tooth decay. Just make sure your gum is sugar-free.

So, feel free to treat yourself to a stick or two of your favorite gum—I’m not watching or judging anyone. 

For more articles and advice, sign up for Suzy’s newsletter.

Sign up for our Newsletter

* indicates required
I am a...