Chewing gum (even the sugar-free stuff) helps us stick to a task—and be faster and more accurate at it, too, finds a study at Cardiff University in Great Britain. In two studies involving auditory pattern and visual memory tests, gum chewers outperformed their peers
. Exercising the jaw—constantly, rhythmically—increases blood flow to brain regions responsible for attention. This keeps us focused, even as we're doing something tedious.
The longer you chew, the greater the benefit. At 30 minutes, gum-chewers remained more focused on their task than the empty-mouthed.