Was Mel Blanc (the voice of Bugs Bunny) chewing gum when the cartoon Bugs munched a carrot and uttered the famous words "What's up, Doc?"
We think he was. There's some evidence that chewing gum helps you stay sharp and understand more, so it would make sense that both Mel and Bugs would come to us "Docs" for answers. (Clearly, Bugs was ahead of his time. Consider that his Real Age hasn't changed since 1938 and he continues to make kids want to eat their root vegetables!)
How can that sliver of rubbery sweetness help your thinking? When you chew, muscles and nerves are activated, and there's increased blood flow to parts of the brain. And chewing (sugarless, thank you) gum juices up the salivary glands, which aids digestion — and we know that the gut is your second brain center. Add to that the physical activity involved in a good long chew. As we reported earlier, 2,000 full-time, gum-chomping workers said chewing cut stress and depression. (Even though the study was funded by a gum manufacturer, we see some truth in it.) Other studies have said that chewing gum can help you lose weight, and we do think you may reduce food cravings temporarily with a stick of gum.
So, our tip? If you believe chewing gum can help you lose weight, lessen depression, relieve stress, and improve focus, guess what? It probably will. It worked for Michael Jordan, who was famous for his game-winning gum-chewing, which was rumored to help him concentrate.
© 2012 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
Posts by Dr. Mehmet Oz, M.D. and Dr. Mike Roizen, M.D.
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