It is the favourite sweet of many people in the world, who consume about half a kilo per year! That's 99 kilos of chewing gum consumed per second!
When I was little, I remember my grandmother taking me to the market to buy something with a sticky texture that you could chew. She would say to me "Here, chew this! It's more natural than chewing those sugar-filled gums.
It was "chicle" (in Spanish) and indeed you could chew it, but it didn't taste like anything (well, to me). Like any 6 year old, I preferred sweets with sugar (sorry granny).
Today I realise that I could have saved myself a trip to the dentist!
But I thought if I could help someone and that someone passes the info on to someone else, well sorry dentists will have less work but at least our mouths will be healthier and our bodies healthier.
The origin of the "chictli in Nahuatl or "tzicli in the Mayan language is located in the Mexican jungle, more precisely in the Gran Petén in the Yucatan Peninsula, Quintana Roo, Guatemala and Belize. The Gran Petén region is the second "green zone" of the American continent, after the Amazon jungle.
The "chicle" was discovered by the Mayan people who inhabited the region. It is a resin contained in a tree called "Chicozapote" (Manikara zapota) originating from Mexico.
This resin was widely consumed by Mesoamerican civilisations and was a favourite of the Aztecs and Mayans who used it to clean their teeth.
According to the story, in the 19th century, a North American citizen, while watching the Mexican president Antonio López de Santa Anna chew "chicle", came up with the idea of adding sugar and flavourings and marketing it at home.
And so chewing gum was born.
Since then, the chewing gum market has grown to thousands of tons per year. Each company adds dozens of ingredients to its recipe: ethylene, propylene, acetate (also found in tyres, shoe soles and other products) and other long and unpronounceable names.
During armed conflicts, including the two world wars, the tzicli was always present and very popular to lower the tension of the soldiers, or to help them fight against stress.
So chewing gum (natural is better) has health benefits, here they are:
1. aids digestion
Chewing gum has been found to aid digestion. This is because the continuous chewing motion increases the secretion of saliva, which contains digestive enzymes. Digestion starts in the mouth with them, so with a large secretion of saliva, food is more ready to be digested easily in the stomach.
2. Unclog your ears
Many travellers resort to chewing gum during their journey, especially if they change altitude. Pressure changes due to travelling higher or lower cause internal pressures in the ears to vary and sometimes become blocked. However, chewing and swallowing cause the displacement of various bony structures in the skull, which prevents this problem.
3. Cleanses the mouth
Chewing gum is sticky, a property that helps to clean the mouth. When you are away from home, it is sometimes impossible to go to the toilet and clean your teeth. A good way to prevent small pieces of food from getting stuck in your teeth is to chew gum.
4. Prevents tooth decay
Thanks to its food-cleaning qualities, chewing gum can prevent tooth decay. It is very counterproductive to go for hours without brushing your teeth, especially for people with low pH levels in the mouth. It is therefore a resource to avoid having food debris in the mouth that promotes the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. Of course, chewing gum should be sugar-free.
5. Freshens breath
There is no doubt that chewing gum can be an excellent way to freshen up the mouth. This is particularly relevant for people who suffer from halitosis. One of the benefits of chewing gum is therefore to avoid bad breath. This is an uncomfortable situation that can be avoided when talking next to someone, as aioli and business meetings can be totally incompatible.
6. Strengthens the muscles
Chewing gum strengthens the chewing muscles. This can be interesting for people who need to strengthen the action of these muscles, as it is a good workout. On the other hand, some people who chew gum all day have even experienced stiffness.
7. It activates the mind
Studies in schools have shown that chewing gum is good for the mind. Chewing has been shown to activate the mind and stimulate brain function. Thus, abilities such as learning and memory can be improved, thus sharpening mental abilities considerably.
8. Combats stress
Chewing gum has also been found to help reduce anxiety and stress. It helps to reduce mental fatigue because the body and mind can focus, if only for a moment, on the sensations of chewing gum and disconnect from stressful stimuli. A good exercise is to consciously focus on these sensations for a few minutes.
9. Can help with enamel mineralisation
Some chewing gums have a remineralising function. If certain compounds are added, chewing gum has advantages for people with bruxism. Some people have very worn enamel, which causes dentin exposure and pain. However, chewing special gums can help rebuild the body's most mineral-dense layer.
10. Strengthens teeth and gums
Chewing is a very good exercise for the teeth and gums. It is an activity that strengthens the roots of the teeth, and is as good as chewing fibrous foods such as celery or carrots. The aim is to prevent the regression of tooth structures through chewing, which is another advantage of chewing gum.
11. Can help with weight loss
People who want to lose weight can find a useful resource in chewing gum. Chewing can reduce appetite, thus preventing overeating. However, not all studies are equally conclusive, so the weight loss benefits of chewing gum have not yet been fully confirmed.
12. Can help to stop smoking
Quitting smoking is one of the best health decisions you can make. Chewing gum has helped many, many people to replace smoking, which is certainly one of the best benefits of chewing gum. Some people try candy, licorice, etc., but it must be said that this is not as effective in all cases.
Less positive effects
I think you already knew about the negative effects of chewing gum.
I am not a chemist, doctor or nutritionist to know that all the ingredients in chewing gum today are bad for your health in general.
That's why I propose you to discover the initiative of this Mexican company whose goal is to save the forest of this region of Mexico and to offer an option of "chicle" as the old ones, thus natural & sustainable.
Only 2% of the chewing gum options are natural!
CHICZA: A sustainable and natural chicle option
In 2011, a company formed by 57 collectives from the Maya area called "The Maya" was created. Consorcio chiclero "has launched a natural and sustainable product called Chicza.
For a long time, the jungle of Gran Petén has struggled with deforestation due to the richness of its raw materials as well as the exploitation of its resources in the complete carelessness and oblivion of the authorities.
This is why CHICZA is now addressing three issues of globalization: the overconsumption of industrial (and unhealthy) products, the accumulation of waste (it is biodegradable) and pollution and overconsumption at the expense of the environment (sustainable development).
In addition, we contribute to the socio-economic development of these "chicleros of the Maya area.
Will you try a new natural product or do you prefer branded products?
If you want to try the natural and sustainable initiative Chicza I leave you some links, where you can find them in France: