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Herbs for Health: Mint

Updated: Apr 1

mint health benefits polyphenols

Mint, a refreshing and aromatic herb, offers culinary and health benefits that have made it a cherished ingredient in cuisines around the world. From sweet desserts to savoury dishes, mint's versatile flavour profile adds a delightful touch to various culinary creations. The name ‘mint ‘covers more than a dozen species, here we will focus on the common (mild) form known as spearmint, Mentha spicata.


  • Mint's cool and invigorating taste complements both sweet and savoury dishes. It is commonly used to garnish salads, desserts, and fruit platters, providing a burst of freshness. Mint also enhances the flavour of savoury dishes such as lamb, poultry, and Middle Eastern cuisine.

"Mild refreshing mint, for many the taste of spring and summer. In salads, in sauces and even in cocktails."
  • Mint is a rich source of health-promoting polyphenols. One of the key polyphenols found in mint is rosmarinic acid, which exhibits powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Rosmarinic acid helps combat oxidative stress, protecting cells from damage, and may aid in reducing inflammation in the body.

  • Mint also contains menthol, a compound responsible for its cooling sensation. It’s stronger tasting cousin, peppermint (Mentha. piperita L), has much higher levels. Menthol not only adds to the refreshing taste but also has soothing effects on the digestive system, making mint beneficial for relieving indigestion and stomach discomfort.

  • In addition to its polyphenols, mint provides essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium, contributing to its nutritional value.

For hot summer days a salad of watermelon, mint and feta cheese is a fantastic cooling alternative to traditional green salads. As can be a mint and lime mojito or a mint tea.
 

As part of a nutritionally rich, whole health lifestyle, at The Whole Health Practice we advocate enjoying herbs (and spices) as a regular part of one’s diet. While some herbs have shown positive results for specific health outcomes, nutrition science and the interaction of polyphenols from different plant sources is incredibly complex. Enjoy a healthy eating pattern with a variety of herbs, spices and whole foods that work in synergy to promote maximum health. Think fruits, berries, beans, vegetables, and whole grains; add colour to your dishes wherever possible.

 

Incorporating mint into your culinary repertoire not only elevates the taste of your dishes but also offers potential health benefits through its polyphenols and other essential nutrients. Enjoy mint to add a touch of freshness to your meals while supporting your overall well-being.


Stray Healthy,


Alastair


 

More than just taste, herbs can bring health and joy to our lives. Read on for our complete collection of articles, recipes and more...

 

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Related Studies

Saqib S, Ullah F, Naeem M, Younas M, Ayaz A, Ali S, Zaman W. Mentha: Nutritional and Health Attributes to Treat Various Ailments Including Cardiovascular Diseases. Molecules. 2022 Oct 9;27(19):6728. doi: 10.3390/molecules27196728. PMID: 36235263; PMCID: PMC9572119.


Tafrihi M, Imran M, Tufail T, Gondal TA, Caruso G, Sharma S, Sharma R, Atanassova M, Atanassov L, Valere Tsouh Fokou P, Pezzani R. The Wonderful Activities of the Genus Mentha: Not Only Antioxidant Properties. Molecules. 2021 Feb 20;26(4):1118. doi: 10.3390/molecules26041118. PMID: 33672486; PMCID: PMC7923432.


Vázquez-Fresno R, Rosana ARR, Sajed T, Onookome-Okome T, Wishart NA, Wishart DS. Herbs and Spices- Biomarkers of Intake Based on Human Intervention Studies - A Systematic Review. Genes Nutr. 2019 May 22;14:18. doi: 10.1186/s12263-019-0636-8. PMID: 31143299; PMCID: PMC6532192.


Mackonochie M, Rodriguez-Mateos A, Mills S, Rolfe V. A Scoping Review of the Clinical Evidence for the Health Benefits of Culinary Doses of Herbs and Spices for the Prevention and Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrients. 2023 Nov 22;15(23):4867. doi: 10.3390/nu15234867. PMID: 38068725; PMCID: PMC10708057.

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