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Chewing Gum Helps With Anxiety, According to MD

While gum has sometimes been marketed as a solution to stave away unhealthy breath, Raafat W. Girgis, MD, a triple board-certified psychiatrist on the Rehab Middle Second of Readability, says gum can accomplish that far more than masks the aftertaste of the tuna salad sandwich you had for lunch. In actual fact, in keeping with Dr. Girgis, chewing gum can really assist lower activation of your fight-or-flight nervous system and scale back nervousness. Insert “thoughts blown” pun. 

In reality, this isn’t the primary time we’re listening to in regards to the correlation between what we eat (or chew) and its influence on our neurological system. We not too long ago chatted with board-certified psychiatrist and ADHD scientific specialist, Sasha Hamdani, MD, who revealed that spicy, crunchy, bitter meals (what she calls “sensory snacks”) can activate mind receptors and increase focus. Is gum no completely different? It is somewhat sticky.



Forward, we delve into the science-backed explanation why chewing gum may also help scale back pressure and nervousness in some people.

How chewing gum may also help gnaw away at nervousness and stress

Based on Dr. Girgis, a examine on the influence of chewing gum on stress ranges confirmed that mastication—chewing—will increase the blood oxygen ranges within the prefrontal cortex (usually deemed the “character middle” as a result of it is the place we course of moment-to-moment enter from our environment, evaluate that enter to previous experiences, after which react to them) and the hippocampus (space of the mind largely liable for studying and reminiscence and managing stress hormones).

“Taking the main target off something that will activate our fight-or-flight nervous system is an effective factor. By chewing gum, your consideration is extra on the bodily and fewer on the psychological elements of what chances are you’ll be experiencing.”
—Raafat W. Girgis, MD, triple board-certified psychiatrist

So, what does this imply when it comes to stress and nervousness? For starters, analysis exhibits that publicity to continual stress can impair prefrontal cognitive talents and have an effect on the construction of dendrites, that are liable for receiving and carrying indicators in mind neurons. However data and reminiscence processing are only a few of the ways in which stress can influence the hippocampus. Nonetheless, research reveal that elevated cerebral blood movement—one of many advantages of (gum) chewing—can increase cognitive exercise.

As such, Dr. Girgis notes that chewing gum will be an efficient self-soothing methodology as a result of it will probably promote stress discount. “There are lots of neural circuits connecting our masticatory organs to the mind, and chewing gum will stimulate the perform of those areas,” Dr. Girgis says. Therefore why gum chewing may also help redirect consideration, particularly when stress or nervousness ranges start to peak. “Taking the main target off something that will activate our fight-or-flight nervous system is an effective factor. By chewing gum, your consideration is extra on the bodily and fewer on the psychological elements of what chances are you’ll be experiencing.”

Ideas for an efficient gum-chewing session

By way of the perfect gum taste or model to decide on, Dr. Girgis says something goes. Large Crimson, Juicy Fruit, Hubba Bubba, you title it. “Taste is a private selection; nonetheless there are discussions and analysis that may supply recommendations. [Although], it’s actually as much as the person and what’s most pleasing to them,” he says. Now, relating to how lengthy you ought to be chewing gum, the psychiatrist says that the candy spot is round 20 minutes or so. “It’s stated that within the first 15 to twenty minutes you’ll discover a distinction, whereas different research have discovered advantages throughout solely the primary 15 to twenty minutes of chewing gum,” he says.

It’s essential to needless to say chewing gum over an extended interval can diminish its taste and chewiness. As such, Dr. Girgis recommends swapping in a brand new piece each half hour, as wanted. In the meantime, he notes that chewing gum earlier than participating in an exercise that’s recognized to emphasize you out, may assist calm your nerves forward of time. The excellent news? Chewing gum is one thing that may be executed discreetly anyplace at any time (a minimum of for probably the most half!).

What are you able to do should you can’t chew gum?

If you end up able the place you possibly can’t or just don’t wish to chew gum, Dr. Girgis recommends discovering different methods for managing stress. Within the case that chewing isn’t concerned, he says utilizing a rubber band on the wrist may also help do the trick. Based on a latest video by Alan Mandell, DC, higher often called @motivationaldoc on TikTok, gently tugging on the rubber band and letting it calmly snap in your wrist may also help redirect signs of a panic assault and practice the mind to subconsciously begin avoiding the stimulus—though it’s crucial to notice that this could by no means be used as a technique of self hurt.

Uncover widespread and accessible herbs for decreasing stress and nervousness, in keeping with an herbalist:




Effectively+Good articles reference scientific, dependable, latest, strong research to again up the knowledge we share. You possibly can belief us alongside your wellness journey.

  1. Zibell, Steven, and Elaine Madansky. “Impression of gum chewing on stress ranges: on-line self-perception analysis examine.” Present medical analysis and opinion vol. 25,6 (2009): 1491-500. doi:10.1185/03007990902959283
  2. Anand, Kuljeet Singh, and Vikas Dhikav. “Hippocampus in well being and illness: An outline.” Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology vol. 15,4 (2012): 239-46. doi:10.4103/0972-2327.104323
  3. Arnsten, Amy F T. “Stress signalling pathways that impair prefrontal cortex construction and performance.” Nature opinions. Neuroscience vol. 10,6 (2009): 410-22. doi:10.1038/nrn2648
  4. Kim, Eun Joo et al. “Stress results on the hippocampus: a vital evaluation.” Studying & reminiscence (Chilly Spring Harbor, N.Y.) vol. 22,9 411-6. 18 Aug. 2015, doi:10.1101/lm.037291.114
  5. Zlatar, Zvinka Z et al. “Elevated hippocampal blood movement in sedentary older adults at genetic danger for Alzheimer’s illness.” Journal of Alzheimer’s illness : JAD vol. 41,3 (2014): 809-17. doi:10.3233/JAD-132252


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