Mint is a medicinal herb that has incredible flavor and amazing health benefits. Its leaves are commonly used in salads, teas and in cocktails, both for their refreshing taste and for their healing properties.
It dates back thousands of years, even being discovered in Egyptian pyramids where it was once used as a breath freshener, aphrodisiac and healer of multiple ailments. Today mint is used to flavor toothpaste, chewing gum and candy as well as being used in multiple cosmetic products as the ultimate freshener.
It’s available all year round and can easily be grown at home, offering beautiful green leaves that can help to cure headaches, relieve indigestion and boost immunity. It’s also great for maintaining healthy eyes, skin and bones due to its rich source of vitamins and minerals as well as being loaded with plenty of cancer-fighting antioxidants.
Here are 10 reasons to include more mint in your diet:
1. Improves Digestion
Mint leaves contain menthol, a substance that helps to stimulate the production of digestive enzymes. This helps to relieve indigestion, acid reflux and nausea and helps to relax the muscles of the colon to prevent cramps and spasms. Mint is also high in dietary fiber, which boosts metabolism, prevents constipation and eliminates waste and toxins more frequently.
2. Stimulates the Brain
In 2008 a group of researchers in Ohio studied the effect of peppermint on the brain and published their results in the International Journal of Neuroscience. 144 volunteers were subjected to various scents in the form of herbal oils and their effect on the brain was closely monitored.
It was discovered that just the smell of mint was able to boost memory retention and cognitive function significantly and that, if eaten, mint was additionally able to increase mental stamina. This makes it a good idea to add mint to drinking water, salads or tea for the ultimate pick-me-up when you need it most.
3. Helps to Prevent Colds and Flu
Mint contains Vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that destroys bacteria and reduces free radical damage to cells. It also strengthens the immune system and increases the number of white blood cells in the body, preparing them for war against colds and flu. Drink mint tea or add mint to salads and soup for better defense against germs, bacteria and viruses.
There’s Vitamin A in mint leaves, which is important for maintaining sharp, healthy eyesight.
It is known for its incredible effect on maintaining healthy purple vision and preventing night blindness or poor vision in dim light. By adding mint leaves to your diet you’ll be keeping your eyes healthy and your vision sharp, helping to prevent macular degeneration.
5. Maintains Strong Bones and Teeth
Mint is surprisingly high in calcium, which is an essential vitamin in maintaining a healthy skeletal system.
It also contains magnesium, which increases the intensity of the absorption of calcium, helping to prevent brittle bones and fragile teeth. The natural anti-bacterial properties additionally help to prevent plaque buildup and tooth decay, keeping oral and skeletal health at its peak.
6. Reduces IBS Symptoms
A small study involving 57 volunteers was conducted to see whether mint had any effect on the symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). After just 4 weeks the results were clear: peppermint reduced the symptoms of IBS by 75% and relieved abdominal pain by as much as 80%.
By adding peppermint to your diet in the form of tea, garnish or oil you will dramatically reduce flatulence, pain and bloating associated with IBS.
7. Protects Against Cancer and Radiation
Researchers from the University of Salford mimicked traditional Chinese medicinal practices and studied the effect of peppermint extract on cancer cells. They found that it blocked oxygen flow to tumors and cancer cells, while maintaining oxygen flow to healthy cells and proved to be a remarkable natural supplement against the spread and production of cancer cells.
A further study that was later published in the Cancer Journal found that mint protected the body against the damaging effect of radiation during chemotherapy. The high level of antioxidants combined with mint’s incredible alkalinity helped to rejuvenate cells and prevent long-term damage caused by radiation.
Mint is an incredible antibacterial and antimicrobial herb that has been linked to eliminating multiple types of viruses and bacteria in the body.
A small study was conducted to observe the effect of mint on the H. Pylori and Herpes virus and it was found to be a powerful and effective anti-viral substance through simple and frequent ingestion. Mint has also been linked to destroying Salmonella and E. coli, which makes it a good idea to add to your daily routine for better detoxification and defense against multiple diseases.
9. Helps to Combat Depression
The smell and taste of mint leaves have been linked to raised levels of serotonin in the brain, which is the happy hormone that helps to fight depression. It is often used in aromatherapy to stimulate endorphins and promote relaxation, but is even more powerful when eaten. The high level of iron, magnesium and potassium help to balance fluid levels, boost oxygen flow throughout the body and release tension in stressed muscles, promoting a calmer, happier and more sustainable energy level.
10. Stimulates Weight Loss
By including more mint in your diet you will be increasing your intake of dietary fiber, which helps to boost metabolism, eliminate waste and detoxify your entire body. Additionally, mint also contains excellent doses of potassium and magnesium which helps to rid the body of fluid buildup and shifts the scale in a favorable direction.
Menthol in mint additionally stimulates digestive enzymes, which improves the rate at which food is digested and leads to a leaner, healthier and less clogged body.