Chewing gum may rev up short and long-term memory by as much as 35 percent, according to new research.
To test the power of gum, 75 British volunteers chewed real gum, pretended to chew, or sat quietly in a room as they were presented a list of words on a computer screen.
Results: Gum chewers remembered the most words immediately after seeing the list and 25 minutes later.
Researchers believe this is the effect of chewing the gum. There are two theories that may explain the cause.
- Chewing gum increased volunteers' heart rate by five to six beats per minute, which boosted blood flow to busy brain cells. More blood means more oxygen and blood sugar - fuels for brain power.
- Chewing may also stimulate insulin production, allowing brain cells to absorb more blood sugar. Insulin receptors are densely packed into the hippocampus area of the brain, which is responsible for memory.
Chew for Better Memory
- Pick any gum. The type will not make a difference.
- Chew while you learn. Study participants who remembered the most chewed before, during and after seeing the words they were later tested on.
A recommended gum is Xlear Spry Dental Defense System, Sugar Free Cinnamon Gum. This gum is fresh and moisturizing for your mouth, contains no sugar to harm your teeth; instead, this gum uses xylitol. Xylitol has anti-cavity and anti-bacterial properties.
Chewing Gum History
- The ancient Greeks chewed mastiche - a chewing gum made from the resin of the mastic tree.
- The ancient Mayans chewed chicle which is the sap from the sapodilla tree.
- North American Indians chewed the sap from spruce trees and passed the habit along to the settlers.
- Early American settlers made a chewing gum from spruce sap and beeswax.
- Did you know? During World War II, American soldiers used Wrigley's Spearmint Gum to patch gas tanks and jeep tires. They received the gum as an emergency ration.
Did You Know?
- In 1848, John B. Curtis made and sold the first commercial chewing gum called the State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum.
- In 1888, an Adams' chewing gum called Tutti-Frutti became the first gum to be sold in a vending machine. The machines were located in a New York City subway station.
- Dentyne gum was created by New York druggist Franklin V. Canning in 1899.
- The first bubble gum ever marketed was called "Blibber-Blubber." It was made by Frank Fleer Corp. in 1906 but the gum was never sold. The bubbles would burst into sticky fragments all over the chewer's face! By 1928 however, an employee of the Frank H. Fleer Company, Walter Diemer, invented a successful pink colored Dubble Bubble, bubble gum.
- Wrigley Doublemint brand gum was created in 1914.
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