Enjoy the Refreshing Herb Mint During the Holidays – And Year Round
You may think of mint as a common herb that you casually use for its flavor and aroma. Minty candy canes symbolize the winter holiday season. Iced mint tea is refreshing in the summer heat.
People around the world cultivate mint or enjoy leaves from the plant growing wild. There are about 100 varieties of plants in the mint family. This herb is hardy and may even take over your garden if you start a small patch without containing the roots. .
When you understand how powerful and versatile mint is, you can use it deliberately to ward off disease and even speed recovery from illness. Here are ten great things that mint can do for your health and satisfaction.
ONE. Numerous phytochemicals in mint are powerful anti-oxidants that obliterate the free radicals that menace your cells. Damaged cells can then lead to malfunctioning organ systems. Mint is effective in interrupting this process, thus staving off illness and perhaps even slowing the rate of aging.
TWO. Mint has a strong anti-inflammatory effect. Again this is related to the phytochemicals. Chronic inflammation is at the root of most chronic illness, so the action of mint to balance the inflammation that results from any threat to your body can be beneficial.
THREE. If you are looking for an ally to fight cancer, mint protects you cells from mutation and enhances the DNA repair process. In
addition, peppermint oil is steam-distilled from mint leaves. This safe process avoids the toxic hexane used to extract most vegetable oils. So mint oil does not pollute you or the environment with cancer-causing chemicals.
FOUR. Mint helps prevent infections of many types. Researchers have demonstrated mint kills harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and yeast that want to set up residence in your body.
FIVE. For centuries, folk medicine used mint to calm the digestive system. Now science supports this, with studies showing mint prevents spasms and pain in your digestive system. Great if you just stuffed yourself with a too-big meal. Medical researchers have even found peppermint oil can reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
SIX. Mint may function to counter allergic reactions. Although this has not been thoroughly studied, it may be helpful to consume mint if you are suffering from allergies.
SEVEN. Topical application of mint oil has been found to reduce pain from injury and headaches.
EIGHT. If you are prone to travel sickness, try mint. This is still another reason mint can be helpful over the holidays or during summer vacation, when you are likely out and about more than usual.
NINE. Mint is refreshing, cooling, soothing, and delicious – all at the same time. It’s bright taste and alluring aroma will perk up any meal, drink, or snack. You will certainly be willing to use less salt when you flavor food with mint, as the mixture of mint and salt is not very appetizing. Since most people consume way too much salt, this is a good thing.
TEN. Mint is inexpensive and available in any supermarket or natural food store. You don’t need a prescription to buy it. The label is not filled with scary side effects.
When you combine all the protective actions of mint, the net effect is powerful enough to even guard cells and organ systems against the worst effects of radiation!
Supplements cannot mimic the health-enhancing effects of mint. All varieties of this herb contain a similar beneficial cocktail of vitamins and phytochemicals. The relative proportion of these substances varies based on the variety of the herb and where, when, and how it was grown. In every case, the effectiveness of the whole exceeds the sum of the parts.
Don’t be shy about sampling new recipes with fresh mint leaves, dried mint, or mint extract. You can liven all kinds of dishes with the distinctive flavor of this herb. Try mint in smoothies, fruit salads, green salads, whole grain dishes, sauces, soups, and teas. You can even add a few mint leaves or a drop of mint extract to water or sparkling water for an excellent drink.
Generally, you’ll benefit most by incorporating mint with healthy foods – vegetables, fruits, potatoes, beans, and whole grains. The
marriage of mint and dark chocolate flavors was truly made in heaven though. Minimize mint candy to an occasional treat, but you don’t have to give it up entirely.
The Perfect Formula Diet emphasizes herbs and spices as an essential part of a whole foods, plant-based diet. Mint is an inexpensive, readily available, delicious, and health-promoting herb you can savor throughout the year.
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Blog posting by Janice Stanger, Ph.D. Janice authored The Perfect Formula Diet: How to Lose Weight and Get Healthy Now With Six Kinds of Whole Foods. This easy-to-follow eating plan is built on a whole foods, plant-based diet that can prevent, and even reverse, most chronic disease as well as get you to your perfect weight. Janice loves a cup of mint tea after a meal and dark chocolate flavored with mint as a special treat.