The next time your energy wains, probably at about 3:00 in the afternoon while at work, skip the caffeine and instead pop a piece of gum instead. People are more alert, focused, and even cheerful after chewing gum, according to a study by Cardiff University in Wales. “Chewing stimulates your sensory nerves, increases muscle tension, and speeds up the heart rate – all of which have been shown to improve alertness,” says lead author Andrew Smith, Ph.D. Unlike caffeine, which fuels tension, chewing gum may help to reduce stress. Smith says, “It’s possible that chewing works like exercise to make you relaxed.” In the study, chewing also helped people ignore distractions and improve attention. Consider chewing gum when you need to concentrate or do something particularly challenging. Of course, always opt for sugar-free gum so you don’t get cavities! In fact, chewing sugarless gum after meals or snacks when you can’t brush can keep your smile whiter. Choose peppermint flavored for the biggest energy boost – the scent activates regions in your brain related to alertness.
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