Your Body On... Chew­ing Gum

The health boons go way beyond minty fresh breath

Women's Health (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - By Gina Ha­madey

BRAIN

Who said gum is for ditzes? Au con­traire: it may im­prove your pow­ers of con­cen­tra­tion. In one study, gum chew­ers were faster and more ac­cu­rate at a men­tal task than those who tack­led the same prob­lems sans the sticky stuff. Other re­search has found that chew­ing fires up your neu­rons, in­creas­ing brain sig­nals in five dif­fer­ent re­gions.

TEETH

The sug­ar­less va­ri­ety can be good for your teeth. It in­creases the flow of saliva, which helps neu­tralise and wash away tooth­harm­ing acid from your food. But take note: while any gum can in­crease saliva, chew­ing one with sugar could nix any ben­e­fits.

THROAT

Chew­ing gum for 30 min­utes af­ter eat­ing a high-fat meal may re­duce acid re­flux symp­toms, es­pe­cially heart­burn, ac­cord­ing to a study in the Jour­nal of Den­tal Re­search.

BELLY

Study sub­jects who chomped a piece for 45 min­utes af­ter lunch snacked 10-per­cent less later on, lead­ing re­searchers to be­lieve a stick may sup­press hunger.

GI TRACT

Gum can help you poop bet­ter. C-sec­tion pa­tients who typ­i­cally have trou­ble re­turn­ing to their usual gas­troin­testi­nal rou­tines post-op re­sumed reg­u­lar move­ments faster when they had gum three times a day. Re­searchers be­lieve chew­ing may jump-start the di­ges­tive sys­tem and get things mov­ing again. Pa­tients also had fewer is­sues with nau­sea.

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