Mint is a generic name for thousand of mint species such as spearmint and peppermint, and all of them belong to the family of Mentha. What makes this plant popular is that it can give a cooling sensation, and it can be added to foods fresh or dried. The plant is famous because of the health benefits of mint and its uses in the food industry. It can offer a different twist to drinks, sauces, desserts, and salads.
Although the leaves are edible, most of its benefits come from its topical application on the skin, aroma and by taking it as a supplement in the form of capsules. The following is a list of science-based mint leaves benefits that you can get from it.
1. Nutrients Dense
Mint is not consumed in large quantities as it is added for flavoring and aroma to dishes, but it is packed with nutrients that can benefit your overall health. If you use 14 grams of spearmint, you will only get 6 grams of calories and just 1 gram of fiber. Also, it has essential vitamins and minerals. It is impossible to consume 1/3 cup of mint in one sitting as it is being used as a flavoring, but you can consider it in salad recipes.
Mint nutrition comes with the right amount of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin that is very beneficial for eye health and vital for night vision. The leaves are a good source of potent antioxidants in comparison to other herbs.
2. Help in Irritable Bowel Movement
People with an irritable bowel movement or IBS usually experience a painful sensation in the stomach, bloating, and stomach gas. One of the most effective IBS treatments is diet modification, but some studies show that peppermint consumption is an effective herbal medicine. Mint leaves side effects come from its menthol compound, known to help cure IBS symptoms due to its relaxing effects in the digestive tract.
An analysis of nine studies with 700 participants suffering from IBS shows that peppermint oil consumption in capsule form alleviates IBS symptoms than the group that takes placebo capsules.
3. Help in Indigestion
Indigestion is a common stomach problem that can affect anyone. It can happen when the food sits for too long inside the stomach. Multiple studies linked peppermint to improve the ability of digestion by taking it with meals. Health benefits of mint are also shown in a clinical study using participants with indigestion problems. The result shows that peppermint oil with caraway oil has the same effect on medications administered to indigestion patients.
4. Help Improve Brain Function
Another excellent mint leaves side effects are related to its aroma. There are observational studies that linked aroma from essential oil from mint leaves to improve brain function. Research done in 144 young adults connected to inhaling the scent from peppermint for 5 minutes before taking a test shows a considerable improvement in their memory.
Another study done to people who were driving and asked to smell the aroma from mint essential oil showed improved alertness and lowered their anxiety and frustration while driving. However, further researches are encouraged to investigate its effectiveness in brain function.
5. Help Decrease Pain during Breastfeeding
Mint leaves benefits breastfeeding mothers as most of them experienced soreness and cracked nipples. Researchers have found out that the application of mint on the skin can aid in reducing pain brought about by breastfeeding. The study uses breastfeeding mothers who applied different forms of mint around the affected area after every feeding.
Another study compares mint water and excess breast milk in the effectiveness of relieving pain after breastfeeding. The result shows that water peppermint is more effective in preventing soreness and cracks in the nipple.
6. Help Alleviate Cold Symptoms
Cold and flu symptoms are prevalent nowadays, and it is good to know that mint can offer some relief. Most of the counter medication for flu contains menthol, which is the main peppermint component. You can consider mint nutrition as part of your treatment for flu because of its decongestant effect that can improve breathing and airflow.