You've probably seen peppermint on the packages of toothpastes and gum, but this herb has actually been around for far longer than you might think, with the Romans using it to adorn their heads and dining tables for feasts and other festivities. Dried peppermint leaves were even found inside the pyramids, meaning Egyptians have put it to good use as well, as previously mentioned. Here Keith Pearson, PhD, RD, HealthLine.com, expresses a closer look at several science-based health benefits of mint:
“Mint is the name for over a dozen plant species, including peppermint and spearmint, that belong to the genus Mentha.
These plants are particularly known for the cooling sensation they impart. They can be added to foods in both fresh and dried forms.
Mint is a popular ingredient in several foods and beverages, ranging from teas and alcoholic drinks to sauces, salads and desserts.
While eating the plant offers some health benefits, research shows that several of mint’s health benefits come from applying it to the skin, inhaling its aroma or taking it as a capsule.
This article takes a closer look at eight science-based health benefits of mint.
1. Rich in Nutrients
While not typically consumed in large quantities, mint does contain a fair amount of nutrients.
In fact, just under 1/3 cup or half an ounce (14 grams) of spearmint contains (1):
- Calories: 6
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Vitamin A: 12% of the RDI
- Iron: 9% of the RDI
- Manganese: 8% of the RDI
- Folate: 4% of the RDI
Because of its dynamic flavor, mint is often added to recipes in small amounts, so consuming even 1/3 cup may be difficult. However, it’s possible you may come close to this amount in some salad recipes that include mint among the other ingredients.
It is also a potent source of antioxidants, especially when compared to other herbs and spices. Antioxidants help protect your body from oxidative stress, a type of damage to cells caused by free radicals (3Trusted Source).
2. May Improve Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive tract disorder. It is characterized by digestive symptoms like stomach pain, gas, bloating and changes in bowel habits.
Although treatment for IBS often includes dietary changes and taking medications, research shows that taking peppermint oil as an herbal remedy might also be helpful.
Peppermint oil contains a compound called menthol, which is thought to help alleviate IBS symptoms through its relaxing effects on the muscles of the digestive tract (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).
A review of nine studies including over 700 patients with IBS found that taking peppermint oil capsules improved IBS symptoms significantly more than placebo capsules (6Trusted Source).
One study found that 75% of patients who took peppermint oil for four weeks showed improvements in IBS symptoms, compared to 38% of the patients in the placebo group (7Trusted Source).
Notably, nearly all research showing IBS symptom relief used oil capsules rather than raw mint leaves.
3. Could Improve Brain Function
In addition to ingesting mint, there are claims that inhaling the aroma of essential oils from the plant could provide health benefits, including improved brain function.
One study including 144 young adults demonstrated that smelling the aroma of peppermint oil for five minutes prior to testing produced significant improvements in memory (11Trusted Source).
Another study found that smelling these oils while driving increased alertness and decreased levels of frustration, anxiety and fatigue (12).
However, not all studies agree that peppermint oil could benefit brain function. One study found that although the aroma of the oil was invigorating and led to less fatigue, it had no effect on brain function (13).
More research is needed to help understand how it may work and investigate whether peppermint does, in fact, improve brain function.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mint-benefits#section4
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