Thursday, December 15, 2005

1895 Health benefits of chewing gum

In this morning's paper I read that chewing gum after colon resection speeds recovery, apparently because it is a "sham feeding" and mimics eating. The digestive juices aid the healing. Just think: now hospitals can add $200 to your bill for a pack of gum! Colon Cancer Today

So I went on line to see what other health benefits gum chewing might have. I found benefits from breath freshener to medication dispenser. I know it is a stress reliever and it can burn a few calories. However, looking like a cow chewing a cud is not attractive, so it would be my advice if you are over 21, to keep this habit at home.

Then this item: "Researchers are finding more and more benefits in chewing gum (sorry, Mom). Beside the mindless relaxation it can provide, it may also help to reduce dental plaque and the bacterial damage that can lead to cavities. One gum in particular—mastic gum, which has been used as both a chewing gum and a food in Mediterranean cultures for many centuries—appears to give particularly good results." Life enhancement

Memoir alert. When I was a little girl, maybe 7 or 8, I was outside the bank building in Forreston, which had some columns with ledges large enough for sitting. I was with another little girl--don't remember her name--but the family was quite poor. We were watching a parade. She found some gum stuck to the column, pulled it off and popped it in her mouth with the biggest grin. I've never forgotten how yucky I thought it was or how delighted she was.

"[Chewing gum is a], confection consisting usually of chicle, flavorings, and corn syrup and sugar (or artificial sweeteners). Prehistoric people are believed to have chewed resins. Spruce resin was chewed as a thirst quencher by Native Americans, from whom pioneers adopted the custom. Refined paraffin was later used and then chicle, which was probably first imported into the United States through Mexico. A chicle gum was patented in 1869 by William and Semple. In the present-day manufacture of chewing gum blocks of chicle are ground, melted, and cleared in a whirling vat, and then the flavorings (e.g., fruits, licorice, mints) and other ingredients are added. The gum is rolled through sheeting machinery and chopped into sticks or into candy-coated pellets. Insoluble plastics may be mixed with or substituted for the chicle. The United States is the major producer, exporter, and consumer, of chewing gum. Columbia University Press via"

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