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Blowing bubbles has benefits

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Alex Helm

At some point in their lives, everyone has encountered somebody at work, outside, or at school who always has a piece of gum in their mouth. They chew it as if it’s going to be the last thing they taste. You automatically think to yourself that they have no manners; they’re rude or perhaps unprofessional. What people fail to realize is that chewing gum can have multiple benefits not only on your physical appearance but also on your psychological well-being.

As a freshman in college, I’ve found out there is an even greater level of stress now  than there was in high school. Trying to balance my studies as well as juggling my social life has heightened my stress levels. I’ve heard people say that chewing gum can help relieve stress so I thought I would give it a try. Within the next couple of days of chewing gum I was able to focus in my lectures and while working on homework, but the miracle of it all was that I was calm.

After my stress decreased, I was curious to know if it was a coincidence or if the chewing gum actually helped. According to Sharon Palmer, a nutrition writer, “Chewing gum significantly increases blood flow to the brain”. She also found that regular gum chewers were more calm and relaxed in dealing with the stress of daily life when they chewed gum. If gum has proven to keep kids alert and focused in class, teachers should encourage their students to chew gum, instead of looking down on it.

Other advantages of chewing gum include losing those few extra pounds that don’t seem to vanish. For example, according to the hit television series “The Biggest Loser,” “gum has become a prominent part of the show.” Is this obsession with gum on the show a publicity stunt or does chewing gum really help with weight-loss results?

As learned from Gil Leveille, the executive director of the Ridgley Science institute, “Chewing gum can help relieve stress, and the mindless munching is often stress related…the mere act of chewing,” he adds, it can also curb appetite.”

Now knowing that gum can help food cravings, I don’t believe that chewing gum on “The Biggest Loser” is a publicity stunt. Contestants are probably chewing a lot of gum because they are stressed from all the exercise and changing their previous lifestyles. However, just because gum has been proven to help lessen food cravings that does not mean you should start chewing gum and eat nothing else. You still have to eat right and work out, but if you feel the urge to cheat on your diet, just pop a stick of sugar-free gum in your mouth and you are good to go.

Next time you see someone chewing gum and it starts to bother you, try and consider why they’re chewing it in the first place. Maybe they’re stressed at work or school, or just trying to lose a couple of pounds. If you’re still annoyed by their chewing, pop and piece of gum in your mouth and relax.

Email:ahelm@radford.edu

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