What are the health benefits of mint?

What are the health benefits of mint?

The strong flavor of mint is due to menthol, a natural chemical component found in the plant (Illustrative image Infobae)

Herbaceous plants, or herbs, are often used in meals as spices to add flavors to preparations. They can also be added to certain infusions, since they add flavor to the water. But another recognized role that certain herbs fulfill is that of being medicinal plants. This means that, prior to the development of modern medicinewere used for treat conditionsand its consumption was sustained over time due to its favorable properties.

It seems obvious but it is worth highlighting, although they cannot cure diseases or conditions alone, incorporating some of them into the diet can provide the body with certain benefits. Some of the most recognized are the chamomile, thyme, eucalyptus, parsley, lime or linden and the mint.

Mint belongs to a family of herbaceous plants known for their strong flavor that provides the feeling of freshness. This is because, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from the United States, mint contains a chemical component called menthol that “can change the way the brain registers taste and pain sensations”.

Thanks to its peculiar aroma, mint was historically used in gastronomy in the form of sauces, in salads, to season meats, and even as the main ingredient in ice cream and other desserts. It is usually added in small amountssince its taste is very powerful and can be invasive.

Due to its distinctive flavor, it is usually used in various recipes as a condiment (Illustrative image Infobae)

Mint is also associated with a improvement in digestive processes, either as an infusion or plant derivatives such as in essential oil format. Sometimes it is also recognized for providing some benefits just for its smell.

Over time it began to be added as a flavoring in oral hygiene productsand that is why it is now related to the cleaning and dental health.

As mentioned previously, mint is not only recognized for its fresh flavor, but also for its beneficial properties for the organism. There are multiple studies and institutions that validate the use of this herb, or its derivatives, such as auxiliaries to reduce symptoms of some conditions.

On the one hand, experts from Mayo Clinic recommend moderate consumption of mint to relieve indigestioncharacterized by the stomachache and abdominal discomfort caused by poor diet or the consumption of substances that irritate the digestive system, such as alcohol or some medications.

A study published in the National Library of Medicine (NIH) of the United States explains that peppermint oil capsules with enteric coating and delayed release, which are sold in pharmacies and must be recommended by a health professional, have a positive effect in people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This is because the components of mint can relax the gastrointestinal tractwhich reduces discomfort.

The aroma of mint can cause an increase in the feeling of alertness in the nervous system.

According to Cleveland Clinic, menthola natural chemical component present in mint, present in large quantities in mint tea can help dim the cold symptoms: “Mint tea works well to relax the throat muscles, relieve nasal congestion and even reduce fever. It is also loaded with antibacterial and antiviral properties to give you a healthy boost.”

As for its aroma, it may have stimulating effects of the nervous system since it is so powerful that it helps maintain a alert feeling. In a study, experts state that it also shows a positive impact on memory.

Mint can be part of many foods, In small quantities due to its strong flavor. Its leaves must be cleaned well before adding them to any preparation.

It can be used in salads combined with other vegetables, soups, you can make a mint pesto to add to dishes as a condiment, pasta or meat sauces, and in desserts such as ice cream or in recipes that contain chocolate since it complements its flavor very well.

Adding mint to preparations such as lemonade can provide a feeling of freshness (Illustrative image Infobae)

As for the drinks, can be added as a flavoring to lemonades and cocktails. You can also make a Mint tea to enjoy its fragrance and its benefits.

It is not advisable to ingest large amounts of mint per day since can cause heartburn because it not only relaxes the intestine, but also the sphincter that connects the stomach with the esophagus. This can cause stomach acids to rise and damage the esophagus, which causes a burning sensation in the chest and other symptoms. Therefore, its intake is not recommended for people who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), children and pregnant women.

The total time to prepare mint tea is approximately 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the intensity of flavor you want to achieve. This includes the time to heat the water and the time to infuse the leaves.

Mint tea can help reduce certain cold symptoms, such as nasal congestion (Illustrative image Infobae)

You only need a cup of water, 10 to 15 fresh and well-washed mint leaves, and then whatever sweetener you want to add. It can also be combined with lemon, ginger either cinnamon to add more flavors.

  1. Heat a cup of water in a kettle or in the microwave until it is almost boiling.
  2. Place the mint leaves in a cup or tea infuser.
  3. Pour the hot water over the mint leaves.
  4. Let the infusion rest for 5 to 7 minutes. If you prefer a more intense flavor, you can leave it for up to 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the mint leaves from the cup. If an infuser was used, simply remove it.
  6. Add honey or sugar to taste to sweeten, if you like.
Mint plants are sensitive to temperatures and need a lot of care (Illustrative image Infobae)

This plant is usually complicated to maintain, since it requires Specific conditions such as the type of substrate, the number of hours of sun exposure and water to hydrate. Is sensitive to temperatures both high and low, so it must be treated with care. In addition, it is difficult to germinate its seeds, so it is recommended that buy already grown plants.

The sunshine what you should receive has to be moderate, just like your irrigation. It is enough that the earth is moist, without puddles forming of water. The nutrition of the soil where it grows is essential for it to remain in good condition, and it must be in a large enough potaround 30cm in diameter, so that its roots can grow.

If it grows a lot, wooden sticks should be added so that the plant has support and does not fall. Its leaves should be carefully cut from time to time to encourage development of new shoots.

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