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Chew this one over: If your memory is crashing on you lately, the solution may lie in a simple stick. According to recent studies from a team of psychologists at St. Lawrence University, cognitive function and overall test performance were significantly improved when subjects were chomping on gum. Ultimately, it’s believed that this valuable mental boost derives from the observed increase of heart rate and blood flow. The medical results certainly proved this to a T: Brain activity in the hippocampus, an area important for concentration and reaction times, was significantly sparked and delivery of oxygen to the brain was increased by as much as 25 to 40 percent. (Check out these other ways to better boost your brain health.)
Reduces stress and anxiety
Do you ever feel better biting your nails and shaking your legs when you’re nervous? Well the same concept applies here; nibbling on some gum serves as a fantastic substitute for instinctual nervous habits. But don’t just take our word for it: In a 2011 study, participants who chewed gum twice a day for 14 days rated their anxiety significantly less than the non-chewers, reporting higher moods and lower fatigue levels. Scientifically speaking, it was shown that gum chewing can significantly reduce the stress hormone cortisol because the simple act of chewing is calming for most people. Now that’s something to cheer—or chew—about! Check out these other natural ways to ease anxiety.