‘Hack’ Your Gum: Boost Brainpower and Fix Everything

It's not just for chewing. You can use gum for everything from relieving stress to suppressing your appetite.

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When we discovered that the secret to boosting memory, beating stress and curbing hunger was in our mouths the whole time, we couldn’t help but share the bubblegum with the rest of the class. At Greatist, we’re all about living smarter, happier lives, and we’ll try just about anything that helps get us there. (O.K., maybe not anything.) If gum’s the word, then we’re in.

Below, we’ve rounded up six useful hacks for chewing gum, from boosting brainpower to catching catfish. For serial chewers, we recommend going sugar-free to help ward off cavities, though we won’t judge those who splurge on some old-fashioned Dubble Bubble (or pop a Spearmint before a kiss).

1. Instantly boost brainpower. Need a little help focusing? Coffee’s not the only answer. Studies suggest that popping a stick of gum can help increase alertness, ward off fatigue and even improve memory. Turns out people get the same energy boost from sugared and sugar-free gum, since it’s likely the act of chewing itself that revs up blood flow and brain activity.

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2. Beat stress. When deadlines approach, gum can help improve focus, but it can also take the edge off of stressful situations. Flavored gum — from spearmint to fruity varieties — has been shown to heighten the senses, increase brain arousal and reduce stress levels in study participants. Bonus: it also keeps us from having to worry about bad breath!

3. Fix everything. When you run out of glue, get chewing. Gum makes a great glue substitute around the house; just chew, apply and let dry for a rubber-cement-like bond. It’s especially great at creating watertight seals in cracked ceramic pots, since dried gum has a similar consistency to ceramic.

4. Curb hunger. It won’t replace any meals, but chewing gum can temporarily stave off hunger. Gum helps mimic the acts — chewing and salivating — of eating, which can provide temporary relief from a grumbling stomach. So put down the Doritos!

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5. Get a caffeine fix. Turns out gum can also be an effective delivery system for caffeine. Research suggests that caffeinated gum can boost exercise performance when chewed just prior to activity. (It’s perhaps a bit more convenient than working out with piping hot coffee.)

6. Catch a fish. Every fishing aficionado — or a-fish-ionado (nope, we’re not sorry)  — has his favorite go-to bait, and many expert catfishers choose gum, although it’s unclear exactly why the fish go for it. Figuring out the fish’s favorite flavor is a whole different challenge.

Can’t get enough gum? What are your favorites tips and hacks involving chewing gum? Let us know in the comments.

Greatist is the fastest-growing fitness, health and happiness start-up. Check out more tips, expert opinion and fun times at Greatist.com.

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