Brain Boosting Power of Mint Leaves
Unfortunately, mint leaves are often considered little more than an ingredient used to spice up drinks or settle an upset stomach. In reality, though, the potent little mint herb offers an impressive array of important vitamins, minerals and health benefits that make it a true powerhouse of nutrition. That’s why mint earns a spot as one of the top healing herbs and spices.
In fact, the potential mint leaves benefits extend way beyond freshening up your breath. Research shows that mint leaves may even bump up brain function, aid in digestive health and help balance hormone levels to keep your body at its best.
So how can mint leaves enhance your health, and how can you incorporate them into your daily diet? Here’s what you need to know.
What Are Mint Leaves?
Mint leaves can refer to any plant in the Mentha genus, but the term is most often used to refer to peppermint and spearmint, the two most common types of mint plant. Spearmint is a plant with a sweet flavor that works well in many recipes while peppermint has a higher concentration of menthol, which accounts for many of the medicinal uses of mint leaves.
Benefits of Mint Leaves
1. Improve Digestive Health
Many people reach for mints at the first sign of tummy troubles, and for good reason. Mint is well-known for its stomach-soothing properties thanks to the presence of a compound in peppermint oil called menthol, which helps relax the muscles in the digestive tract to provide relief. (1)
2. May Relieve Cold Symptoms
Flip over just about any over-the-counter cold or flu medicine and you’ll likely spot “menthol” on the list of ingredients. Menthol is one of the primary compounds in peppermint oil, and although there is conflicting evidence about just how effective menthol may be at relieving congestion, several studies have found that it could help improve airflow to reduce cold symptoms. (3, 4)
3. Help Oral Hygiene
Popping a few mints or a stick of mint-flavored gum is a well-known natural remedy to freshen up bad breath, but did you know that it could also help promote oral hygiene as well?
4. Boost Brain Function
Interestingly enough, some research shows that even the mere smell of mint could be enough to bump up brain power and improve cognitive function.
5. Soothe Breastfeeding Pain
Cracked, sore and painful nipples are some of the most common side effects of breastfeeding, many of which can be difficult to effectively soothe and treat.
6. Reduce PCOS Symptoms
Some studies have found that mint tea benefits polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition in women that is characterized by excess levels of male hormones.
7. Decrease Indigestion
Also known as dyspepsia, indigestion is defined as impaired digestion, resulting in recurrent symptoms like heartburn, nausea, belching and abdominal pain. Studies have found that peppermint oil speeds up the emptying of the stomach, which could protect against indigestion to prevent symptoms.