I’ve never been a fan of peppermint chewing gum or any flavor gum for that matter. After an incident in high school where I sat on a piece and it destroyed my only pair of school shorts, I became repulsed by the stuff.
But I’m forcing myself to chew on a piece of peppermint gum right now.
You see, I’ve just stumbled across some research that suggests peppermint gum can help boost your performance in a number of ways – increased motivation, confidence, energy and alertness.
In one experiment by Zoladz, Raudenbush and Lilley (2004), participants were placed in one of 5 conditions in which they had to complete tasks on a computer which assessed a range of cognitive abilities whilst they chewed on a particular type of gum or no gum. The five conditions were as follows-
1) No gum
2) Flavourless gum
3) Peppermint gum
4) Cinnamon gum
5) Cherry gum
It was found that the participants in the peppermint gum condition experienced increased levels of attention and energy and lower fatigue than the participants in the other conditions.
I was intrigued and a little skeptical about the power of peppermint gum so I thought I’d put it to the test. Would chewing on some peppermint gum give me more energy and make me more motivated?
So I bought myself a pack of peppermint gum for a $1.90 and in the afternoon when my motivation was starting to decrease, I chewed on my first piece.
I have to say I did feel slightly more alert, motivated and energised.
In terms of boosting my energy levels though, I’d still prefer having a power nap over chewing on a piece of peppermint gum. But as an additional little tool in your kit, it’s certainly not a bad way to get an energy boost and it beats a sugary beverage or chocolate bar any day.
In fact, research has found that people who chew on gum have fewer cravings for food and lower calorie intake. So not only will you feel more alert, motivated and energised but you could lose some weight by making friends with peppermint gum.
Are there any downsides to chewing gum? Any risks?
You only have to take a look at baseball players who chew on gum religiously and their stomach ulcers to realise it’s not such a great idea to chew on gum 24/7. There has also been concerns in relation to artificial sweeteners that are used in some chewing gums.
Instead of chewing on gum, you could also try other ways to generate a peppermint scent while you work. A peppermint plant, peppermint scented aromatherapy candle, peppermint tea or a splash of peppermint oil may work just as well.
No research has been done to date on what works best (e.g. gum, plant or candle), so it may just be a matter of trial and error. Have some fun experimenting with different things and let me know how you go.
Zoladz, P., Raudenbush, B., & Lilley, S. (2004). Impact of the chemical senses on augmenting memory, attention, reaction time, problem solving, and response variability: The differential role of retronasal versus orthonasal odorant administration. Chemical Senses, 29, supplement