By Emily Vu; First Year Co-Chair
We find it in our gum and toothpaste among many other things, but is mint more than just a refreshing aroma and breath enhancer? Mint and fresh herbs, in general, have countless properties that can be of benefit to our health. One of the most commonly known health benefits of mint is its ability to alleviate indigestion. Used for thousands of years now to soothe aching stomachs, mint has been found to relax stomach muscles and increase bile secretion which consequently helps increase the rate and the ease of digestion. The use of peppermint specifically has shown to aid in the discomfort experienced with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Research has shown that enteric-coated capsules of peppermint help alleviate symptoms of IBS such as diarrhea, pain, gas, and bloating.
Additionally, mint contains many antioxidants as well as various vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, copper, manganese, beta carotene, iron, and magnesium, to list a few. Mint also contains menthol which is a helpful aid for alleviating congestion as it plays a role in breaking up mucus. Menthol also provides a cooling sensation, which is useful in alleviating a sore throat. Thus, taking mint with tea can be comforting when experiencing a cold. Adding on to the list of health benefits that mint allows, this powerful and aromatic herb may also help relieve nausea and headaches as well.
In addition to ingesting mint, it can be used topically in order to soothe the skin, especially when one has insect bites. Mint is found in many bug repellents as its cooling properties helps provide relief of irritation as well as reduce the tendency to scratch the affected areas. As seen so far, mint can aid many people, addressing a wide variety of health areas and problems. This can especially be demonstrated in the fact that mint has been shown to play a role in easing some of the pain and discomforts that accompany breastfeeding. The International Breastfeeding Journal published a study that showed that mint oil helps in the prevention and reduction of cracks in the nipples and pain that is often experienced when breastfeeding.
With this newfound knowledge, you should consider incorporating mint into your diet. The great thing about mint is that it can be easily found at the grocery store, but can also easily be grown in your own kitchen or garden! With summer just around the corner, it is important to stay cool, nourished, and refreshed, so here are some simple ways that you can easily add a hint of mint!
- Infuse and enhance your water with mint, lemon, and your other favorite fruits
- Add fresh sprigs of mint to your salads for a refreshing meal
- Make homemade popsicles with watermelon, honey, lime juice and mint
- Sprinkle fresh chopped mint on top of unsweetened Greek yogurt for a healthy breakfast
- Steep mint leaves in your tea for a comforting effect