Researcher Reveals Chewing Gum Can Help Reduce Anxiety And Stress
As researchers delve deeper into mental health, they find ways that help address and overcome different conditions.
Whether it's a new pharmaceutical that can target brain impulses or a meditation strategy that can focus the mind, these advancements mean wonders for people who live with these conditions every day.
Interestingly, researchers have discovered that chewing gum can help reduce anxiety and stress in healthy individuals.
People at Swinburn University had a look into whether chucking a bit of chewy in people's mouths helped in stressful situations and lo and behold, it was a pretty good result.
Posting their research in Physiology and Behaviour, the researchers concluded: "During both levels of stress the chewing gum condition was associated with significantly better alertness and reduced state anxiety, stress and salivary cortisol.
"Overall performance on the framework was also significantly better in the chewing condition. The
mechanisms underlying these effects are unknown but may involve improved cerebral blood flow and/or
effects secondary to performance improvement during gum chewing."
Dozens of people were asked to list how they were feeling before the study started and then were hooked up to a Defined Intensity Stressor Simulation (DISS). This simulator is 'a multi-tasking platform' that is specifically designed to make you stressed and anxious - yeah, no thank you.
Some were given sugar free gum to chew and this group found their stress levels were 16 per cent lower after having a good ole fashion chew.
Professor Andrew Scholey was one of the authors of the paper and he's told LADbible the results were really surprising. He said chewing gum 'increased alertness and reduced stress and anxiety' and it also managed to pull down people's cortisol levels, which is a hormone your body produces when it feels under threat.
The hard part for the researchers was trying to explain the cause of their findings.
Prof. Scholey tells us: "The short answer is that we don't know! However there are a few possibilities.
"One is that people were less stressed and anxious because they performed better. Most stress is a product of some combination of not having the resources (physical or mental) to meet ongoing demands and/or the feeling of social evaluation.
"Another possibility is that chewing may subconsciously be associated with social occasions like meal times which may be relaxing in themselves.
"We know from other research that chewing increased bloodflow to the brain - this may somehow reduce anxiety."
Prof. Scholey admits that more research needs to be done into this area to work out how it all works, however these preliminary findings sound really promising.
So next time you're feeling the anxious pinch, see if having a bit of chewy helps you.
Featured Image Credit: PA