The amazingly cheesy 1988 cult classic film They Live produced what is arguably one of the most memorable one-liners in all of movie history: “I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass… and I'm all out of gum.” According to lead actor “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, the line wasn't even in the script — he ad-libbed it on set.

Piper's character had no problem kicking ass without any bubblegum, but there's scientific evidence to indicate that he might've had an even easier time with it. Believe it or not, several recent peer-reviewed studies have shown that chewing gum has a proven association with “higher productivity and fewer cognitive problems”. Even if you're not hunting down evil aliens, there's strong evidence to suggest that chewing gum can help you focus, relax, and accomplish more.

Closeup of dubble bubble chewing gum against red background.

Whether you're bored at work or trying to cope with a chaotic survival situation, popping in a piece of chewing gum can give you a measurable advantage. Here are a few of the cognitive benefits of chewing gum, as mentioned in this study from the U.S. National Library of Medicine:

  • Enhanced alertness
  • Improved memory and reduced cognitive errors
  • Sustained attention span
  • Quickened reaction time
  • Reduced feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression

In addition to these psychological benefits, the American Dental Association states that chewing sugar-free gum can protect the teeth and reduce the risk of cavities. Scientific evidence also suggests that chewing gum significantly suppresses hunger, so if you're not able to stop for a snack, it's a good way to stay on task. The foil wrappers can also be combined with a AA battery and used as an improvised fire-starter.

Gum wrapper lighter

Your empty gum wrappers can be re-purposed into a simple fire-starting tool.

Considering all these reasons, you might want to think about adding a pack of gum to your survival kit if you haven't already. If you find yourself in the backwoods without gum, check out our previous article about how to make natural spruce pitch chewing gum. Now go chew gum and kick ass.


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