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Chews Better Health

Stepping in it: bad. Chewing it: good. MensHealth.com recently reported on several studies that show chewing sugar-free peppermint gum, which costs about 25 cents per pack, may have greater health benefits than $100 worth of prescription drugs. (I can hear pharmaceutical lobbyists sharpening their spin skills as we speak.)

Here's what the studies found:

DENTAL HEALTH - The sugar-free sweeteners found in the gum help you produce more saliva. That keeps your breath fresher and helps fight cavities.

NAUSEA RELIEF - Compounds in peppermint slow stomach contractions, helping you feel less queasy.

WEIGHT LOSS - While you chew they say repetitive jaw movement helps you burn calories, and increases your metabolism by up to 20 percent while you chew. (This one, I'm not convinced. Burning calories by just chewing? Wouldn't cows be the skinniest creatures on the planet?)

MOTIVATION and ANXIETY REDUCTION - The scent of peppermint can improve your mood and helps you work harder at the gym.

MEMORY IMPROVEMENT - The chewing motion increases bloodflow to the brain, boosting memory by as much as 35 percent.

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