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Think about it twice before banning gum from your safety kit.

Australian and English researchers asked themselves if chewing gum could reduce stress. They asked 40 participants about twenty years old to complete a stressful task that included a series of memory, calculation, inhibition and surveillance tasks. These tasks all needed to be completed at the same time on a computer. Participants completed these tasks with or without chewing gum. Researchers noticed an increased vigilance, a lower level of anxiety, a decrease in the experience of stress and a lower elevation of cortisol levels when the participants were chewing gum. Chewers performance at the task was also increased. The mechanisms of this association still needs to be further understood.

Title: Chewing gum alleviates negative mood and reduces cortisol during acute laboratory psychological stress.

Authors: Andre Scholey, Crystal Haskell, Bernadette Robertson, David Kennedy, Anthea Milne, Mark Wetherell.

Journal: Physiology and Behavior (2009) vol. 97 pp. 304-312