Mint is often associated with freshness and vitality and is probably one of the most recognized and popular flavors in the world. You have the “sweet” mint found in candies, cocktails, iced tea and soft drinks, and ice cream (Peppermint) and you have the “savory” mint found commonly in spicy dishes (Spearmint). Sweet or savory, mint has healing properties and health benefits. Some you may be aware of and some may surprise you.
- Peppermint is commonly used to help with IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I used it myself when several doctors told me I had IBS and it does help relax the muscles in the GI tract. Though in my case it turns out the IBS was actually cancer but either way the peppermint helped with easing symptoms.
- Magical mint also helps with indigestion. It is no coincidence that many restaurants commonly offer mints as an after dinner treat. This practice has been passed down over generations because it helps with bloating and post meal tummy aches.
- Mint has menthol in it. This is the same stuff that is in vapor rubs that you buy to help with chest congestion except mint is natural and those chest rubs typically aren’t. The mint helps with congestion and helps to reduce coughing.
- It’s great for people with asthma and allergies as well as common colds. Mint stops the release of histamine, the chemical that causes itchy, watery eyes and congestion.
Whole Body Health
- The cold sensation from the methol provides pain relief. This is why it is commonly placed in topical pain relievers like Icy Hot.
- Spearmint has been shown in some studies to help with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) by reducing the overabundance of testosterone found in women with this condition.
- Breastfeeding moms can use mint tea topically to get some relief from sore nipples. Just rub it on and allow to air dry for some sweet relief.
- Peppermint and Spearmint have both been shown in animal studies to slow the growth of certain cancers or even kill it outright.
- Peppermint oil kills bacteria in the mouth and helps prevent plaque buildup. This would of course be why mint is so commonly found in toothpaste and mouthwash.
- We commonly feel invigorated when we eat mint or inhale it’s fragrance. The invigorating properties sharpen our minds and make us more alert which makes it great for improving performance at work or in school.
- Mint inhalation helps with stress and anxiety. I know I cannot help but feel calm and happy when I smell mint!
How To Get More Mint in the Diet:
Mint marries very well with curries, crabmeat, peas, lamb, yogurt, mango, and cranberries. Add mint to dishes with peas, make lamb with mint sauce, and eat mint raita (cucumber and yogurt).
Small sprigs from the garden can be frozen into ice cubes for a refreshing drink (tea, lemonade, water). You can also substitute mint for other spices. Mint plays well with basil, cumin, rosemary, thyme, lemongrass, and chile.
Monday, November 12th, 2012