William Wrigley Jr. -- The man who brought us "pure chewing satisfaction"

William Wrigley Jr. -- The man who brought us "pure chewing satisfaction" -- was born way, way back in 1861. Modern chewing gum was invented when "chicle," a latex sap much like rubber, was brought to the U.S. In 1870, the first flavored gum, Black Jack, was manufactured. Wrigley was selling Spearmint and Juicy Fruit by 1893. Chiclets and gumballs came in the early 1900s -- and Walter Diemer invented Dubble Bubble bubble gum in 1928. After World War II, chemists learned how to make artificial gum bases to use instead of chicle.

  • A recent study shows a simple stick of gum can often fight heartburn just as well as over the counter medicines. Researchers at England's Kings College found that chewing gum half an hour after a meal can relieve symptoms of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) -- commonly known as indigestion. Chewing gum stimulates saliva, which neutralizes acid in the esophagas.
  • According to a small study by Andrew Scholey of the University of Northumbria in England, people who chewed gum throughout tests for both long- and short-term memory scored better on both tests than people who did not chew gum. One theory suggests that the act of chewing ups the heart rate, which, in turn, improves oxygen delivery to the brain.
  • Research also suggests chewing gum may not only help a woman conceive but may make her pregnancy safer and more successful. The study found that the act of chewing makes a woman's eggs more receptive to sperm and helps balance hormones.
  • Chewing gum could help you lose weight according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MI, have discovered that chewing gum raises your metabolic rate by about 20 percent, and an "all-day sugar-free gum chewer" burns off the equivalent of 11 pounds of extra weight per year.

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