Mint is the common name for a number of plant species in the genus Mentha, including peppermint and spearmint. Today, we will look at the benefits of mint.
These plants are well-known for their ability to provide a cooling sensation. They can be used in both fresh and dried foods.
Mint is widely used in a variety of foods and beverages, including teas and alcoholic beverages, as well as sauces, salads, and desserts.
While eating the plant has some health benefits, research shows that applying mint to the skin, inhaling its aroma, or taking it as a capsule has several more.
This article delves deeper into the eight scientifically proven health benefits of mint.
1 Rich in Nutrients
Mint contains a fair amount of nutrients, despite the fact that it is not commonly consumed in large quantities.
In fact, a little less than a third of a cup or half an ounce (14 grammes) of spearmint contains:
- Calories: 6
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Vitamin A: 12% of the RDI
- Iron: 9% of the RDI
- Manganese: 8% of the RDI
- Folate: 4% of the RDI
Because mint has such a strong flavour, it is frequently used in small amounts in recipes, so consuming even a third of a cup may be difficult. However, you may come close to this amount in some salad recipes that include mint as one of the ingredients.
Mint is an excellent source of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin essential for eye health and night vision.
It is also a high antioxidant source, especially when compared to other herbs and spices. Antioxidants protect your body from oxidative stress, which is cell damage caused by free radicals.
Although not typically consumed in large quantities, mint contains fair amounts of several nutrients and is an especially good source of vitamin A and antioxidants.
2 It could help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a digestive tract disorder that affects many people. It is distinguished by digestive symptoms such as stomach pain, gas, bloating, and bowel changes.
Although dietary changes and medication are frequently used to treat IBS, research suggests that taking peppermint oil as a herbal remedy may also be beneficial.
Menthol, a compound found in peppermint oil, is thought to help alleviate IBS symptoms by relaxing the muscles of the digestive tract.
A meta-analysis of nine studies involving over 700 patients with IBS discovered that taking peppermint oil capsules significantly improved IBS symptoms compared to placebo capsules.
According to one study, 75 percent of patients who took peppermint oil for four weeks improved their IBS symptoms, compared to 38 percent of patients in the placebo group.
Notably, almost all studies that demonstrated IBS symptom relief used oil capsules rather than raw mint leaves.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive disorder. Several studies have found that taking peppermint oil capsules helped IBS patients’ symptoms.
3 May Help Relieve Indigestion
Mint may also help with other digestive issues such as upset stomach and indigestion.
Indigestion can occur when food remains in the stomach for an extended period of time before passing into the rest of the digestive tract.
Multiple studies have shown that taking peppermint oil with meals helps food pass through the stomach faster, which may alleviate symptoms of this type of indigestion.
In a clinical study of people with indigestion, a combination of peppermint oil and caraway oil taken in capsules had effects similar to indigestion medications. This aided in the relief of stomach pain and other digestive symptoms.
In studies highlighting mint’s ability to relieve indigestion, similar to IBS, peppermint oil was used rather than fresh or dried leaves.
Several studies have shown that peppermint oil can increase the rate at which food moves through the stomach, relieving indigestion-related digestive symptoms.
4 May Improve Brain Function
In addition to ingesting mint, there are claims that inhaling the aroma of the plant’s essential oils may provide health benefits, including improved brain function.
One study involving 144 young adults found that smelling peppermint oil for five minutes prior to testing resulted in significant memory improvements.
Another study discovered that smelling these oils while driving increased alertness while decreasing frustration, anxiety, and fatigue.
However, not all studies agree that peppermint oil can improve cognitive function. According to one study, the aroma of the oil was invigorating and reduced fatigue, but it had no effect on brain function.
More research is needed to better understand how it works and to determine whether peppermint actually improves brain function.
Some studies suggest that smelling peppermint oil may improve memory and alertness, while others show no effect. More research is required to fully comprehend the effects of mint on brain function.
5 Breastfeeding Pain Could Be Reduced
Sore and cracked nipples are common in breastfeeding mothers, making breastfeeding painful and difficult.
Applying mint to the skin has been shown in studies to help relieve pain associated with breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding mothers in these studies applied various types of mint to the area around the nipple after each feeding. They typically used an essential oil on its own or in combination with gel or water.
According to one study, using peppermint water after breastfeeding was more effective than using expressed breast milk in preventing nipple and areola cracks, resulting in less nipple pain.
Another study found that only 3.8 percent of mothers who used a peppermint gel had nipple cracks, compared to 6.9 percent who used lanolin and 22.6 percent who used a placebo.
An additional study found that mothers who used menthol essential oil after each feeding had less pain and severity of nipple cracks.
Mint essential oils appear to be effective in preventing and treating nipple cracks and pain associated with breastfeeding.
6 Subjectively alleviates cold symptoms
Menthol, a primary compound in peppermint oil, is found in many over-the-counter cold and flu treatments.
Many people believe that menthol is a powerful nasal decongestant that can relieve congestion while also improving airflow and breathing.
Several studies, however, show that menthol has no decongestant effect. Having said that, studies show that menthol can improve nasal breathing subjectively.
This means that, while menthol does not act as a decongestant, it can make people feel as if they are breathing more easily through their nose.
This is likely to provide some relief to those suffering from a cold or the flu.
Although menthol is not a nasal decongestant, it can provide some relief from cold and flu symptoms by subjectively improving nasal breathing.
7 Bad Breath Could Be Covered Up
When it comes to preventing or treating bad breath, people often reach for mint-flavored chewing gum and breath mints.
Most of these products, according to experts, can mask foul-smelling breath for a few hours. However, they only mask bad breath and do not address the bacteria or other compounds that cause it in the first place.
Drinking peppermint tea and chewing on fresh leaves, on the other hand, may be able to mask bad breath while also killing bacteria, as test-tube studies have highlighted the antibacterial effects of peppermint oil.
Breath mints and chewing gum can mask unpleasant odours for a few hours, but they are not an ideal long-term solution for bad breath. Peppermint tea and mint leaf chewing may be more effective in reducing bacteria that cause bad breath.
8 Simple to Include in Your Diet
Mint can be easily incorporated into green salads, desserts, smoothies, and even water. Another popular way to incorporate it into your diet is through peppermint tea.
However, many of the studies demonstrating mint’s health benefits did not involve eating the leaves with food. Mint was instead taken as a capsule, applied to the skin, or inhaled through aromatherapy.
When using mint for health purposes, it is critical to consider what you want to achieve as well as how the plant was used in research for that purpose.
The list below should help summarise some of the above-mentioned research.
- Eating fresh or dried leaves: This remedy is used to treat bad breath.
- Inhaling essential oils: This may help with brain function and cold symptoms.
- When applied to the skin, it is used to relieve nipple pain caused by breastfeeding.
- Taking capsules with food: May aid in the treatment of IBS and indigestion.
Mint is easily incorporated into your diet, but the majority of the research demonstrating health benefits involved taking it as a capsule, applying it to the skin, or inhaling it through aromatherapy.
Mint is a tasty and healthy addition to a variety of foods and beverages.
Although mint is simple to incorporate into a variety of dishes, studies demonstrating its health benefits have primarily used mint in capsule form, applied to the skin, or inhaled via aromatherapy.
Mint has a variety of health benefits, including improved brain function and digestive symptoms, as well as relief from breastfeeding pain, cold symptoms, and even bad breath.
You can’t go wrong with including mint in your diet.
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