Perhaps you like a little mint in your iced tea. Or maybe you’re a fan of mint ice cream. Well, it turns out this delicious summertime herb has a whole lot more to offer us than just adding a bit of flavor to our favorite foods.
In fact mint is packed with a bunch of helpful nutrients and it’s got one of the highest antioxidant levels of any food out there, making it perfect for combating everything from seasonal allergies to belly pain.
1. Tame allergies:
Mint contains useful amounts of rosmarinic acid, a natural anti-inflammatory antioxidant that could help ease—or in some cases even prevent—seasonal allergy symptoms.
To combat the overreacting histamines that are behind your seasonal allergies brew up some mint tea by pouring eight ounces of boiling water over about a quarter cup of chopped fresh leaves, and allowing it to steep for five minutes. Strain and sip. Add a dash of local honey, another natural allergy fighter, if you like.
On the go? Chew on some delicious fresh leaves instead.
2. Fight cancer:
Early research has revealed mint is a valuable source of compounds that could help prevent cancer. For example, peryllyl alcohol can help inhibit cancer cell growth and reproduction. And powerful antioxidants, such as carotenoids and retinoids, are natural cancer-fighters too.
It’s easy to add more mint to your diet. The herb makes an excellent addition to salads, turns any side dish veggie into a main attraction and is a surprisingly delicious addition to spaghetti and stir fries.
3. Combat cold symptoms:
Mint, the star player behind menthol, is a natural when it comes to breaking up the sinus and lung congestion that come with a cold. Drinking mint tea can help you breathe easier and soothe your sore throat. Sip on several cups a day until your symptoms subside.
4. Fight flu and reduce fever:
Mint gently stimulates your immune system, so sipping on freshly brewed mint tea can help give your body the extra boost it needs to fight off the flu faster.
And while low grade fevers help combat infections, and you should generally let them run their course, if yours starts climbing too high for comfort you can help lower it with hot mint tea. The hot tea works by stimulating sweating, which in turn helps bring down your fever.
5. Help a headache:
At the first sign of headache, reach for the mint instead of a pain pill. Herbalists say pure mint oil, or crushed mint leaves, dotted on the forehead, nose and temples can often help head off headache pain before it ever gets a chance to take hold.
6. Calm a complaining belly:
Mint is great for calming an upset stomach, tamping down nausea, and relieving gas and bloating. The herb naturally calms and relaxes the muscles in your digestive tract easing cramps and nausea, and allowing pent up gas to escape.
Sip freshly brewed mint tea, or chew on some fresh leaves, to settle your stomach and ease cramp and bloat. Folks suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, should avoid mint, however, because it could trigger more symptoms.
7. Fight gum disease:
You know mint can freshen your breath, but did you know it can actually keep your whole mouth healthy, too? Mint is a natural anti-microbial, which means it can help kill the bacteria in your mouth that cause gum disease as well as bad breath.
Chew mint leaves, along with brushing and flossing regularly, and your mouth will be healthier than it’s ever been.
Why not put more mint on your menu starting today?