With a beautiful color, pleasant smell and unique flavor, mint is, without a doubt, one of the most sought after herbs in fairs and supermarkets.
Sabrina Jeha, herbalist and phytotherapy consultant at Sabor de Fazenda Ervas e Temperos (Instagram @sabordefazenda), explains that mint (scientific name: Mentha) is an aromatic, perennial herb, widely known, cultivated and used in Brazil in gastronomic preparations ( from salads, juices to desserts and syrups) and also in infusions for medicinal purposes. “It belongs to the Lamiaceae family, the same as basil, lavender, rosemary and boldo. Archaeological studies record the use of this plant for more than 3000 years in food, medicine or cosmetics,” she adds.
Below you can see why it is worth knowing more about mint and including it in your daily life!
10 health benefits of mint
Mint has phenolic compounds, which have strong antioxidant activity, as well as vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. Therefore, it offers interesting health benefits, being considered a functional food. Check out some of the main advantages of its consumption:
1. Fight nausea: nutritionist Fernando Castro explains that mint has an antispasmodic effect, thus reducing cravings and helping to prevent vomiting.
2. Aid in digestion: Castro highlights that mint is calming and stimulating biliary function, thus increasing the speed and efficiency of digestion, avoiding unpleasant digestive symptoms.
3. Versatility in cooking: “due to its aroma, mint is used as a flavoring in any preparation, giving a sensation of freshness to food. It is mainly used in the preparation of teas and jellies, and also in liqueurs, salads and meats”, highlights Fernando Castro.
4. Good intestinal functioning: mint can be a great ally to regulate the intestine and also prevents the formation of gases.
5. Fight against worms: it is already proven that mint is an efficient and affordable remedy against worms, especially against giardiasis.
6. Expectorant action: herbalist Sabrina explains that, with expectorant properties, mint helps to improve sinusitis, cough and common cold.
7. Oral health ally: with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects, mint can help prevent oral problems such as infections, bad breath, cavities, among others. It is not by chance that it is present in the composition of several products for oral care.
8. Helps in cancer prevention: associated with a healthy diet, it is believed that mint, with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, can also help prevent some types of cancer and other diseases.
9. Skin ally: Castro highlights that mint can help fight and relieve itching and skin infections, in addition to being used as a topical analgesic.
10. Instrument in aromatherapy: the properties of mint are still explored through aromatherapy, that is, the aroma of the plant is used for physical and mental relaxation.
Due to its healthy properties, mint is used in various therapeutic treatments and in the daily lives of many people. Now you know the main advantages of its use!
types of mint
Not everyone knows, but in fact, mint is the popular name given to most species of the genus Mentha sp. So, there are different types of mint/mint. Below, you know the main ones along with their particularities:
- Peppermint (Mentha x piperita): “It is more minty and is delicious in hot or cold infusions, bringing a refreshment to the preparation”, says Sabrina.
- Pennyroyal mint (Mentha pulegium): “It is used as a traditional tea for children and adults with coughs”, highlights the herbalist.
- Common Mint (Mentha spicata): It is known as a medicinal and aromatic plant, helping to treat digestive problems in addition to having calming and expectorant effects.
- Japanese mint (Mentha arvensis): is widely used in aromatherapy, being well known in the treatment of headaches, for example. But it has other indications, such as nasal decongestant, combating gas, nausea and skin irritation.
- Ground mint (Mentha x villosa): is widely used, for example, in the treatment (orally) of intestinal infections caused by amoeba and giardia.
- Portuguese mint (Mentha suaveolens): has a minty aroma and flavor. “It is very similar to the common mint, but its size is taller and its leaves are slightly thicker”, explains Sabrina. It is often used to combat digestive problems, nausea, etc.
- Variegata mint (Mentha suaveolens variegata): is the green mint with white edges. It is widely used in cooking, in salads, sauces and drinks. It can also be used as an ornamental plant due to its beauty.
- Levante (Mentha sp): “It is a mixture of some species, it has rounded leaves and a sweet taste”, explains Sabrina. It can be indicated to fight coughs, colds and gases.
“In general, all mints can be used in food, in salads, fresh condiments, juices and in fruit salads, for example, providing a refreshing and delicious taste. They can also be used in the form of an infusion, as a digestive tonic, to prevent and treat colds, respiratory problems and also as a vermifuge”, highlights herbalist Sabrina.
Refreshing and delicious recipes with mint
Using mint leaves is a guarantee of more flavor and freshness for your drinks or food… Get inspired by delicious mint recipes!
1. Peppermint oil: Seasoned olive oil is a great option to have at home. So, when you want to give a special touch to any recipe, just add a few drops! The preparation of this particular mint oil is very simple, you only use the oil and mint leaves!
2. Mint salad dressing: it’s easy to make and it’s delicious! It goes well with a salad of leaves or even with a more elaborate salad, for example, with tomatoes, apples, cucumbers and onions.
3. Potato salad with mint: simply divine for summer lunches! The combination of spices makes it irresistible and super refreshing. Good tip to accompany a barbecue, for example.
4. Mint tea with orange zest: an incredible combination of flavors, as the orange cuts the strong freshness of the mint leaving it softer and very tasty. In addition to these ingredients, you will only use hot water.
5. Pea soup with mint: creamy, tasty, practical and healthy. This soup can be served warm on cold days, or cold on hot days. It tastes good at any temperature and takes few ingredients… Yams, peas, mint, salt and olive oil.
6. Salmon with mint and cold white bean salad: for hot days, nothing better than light dishes, like this one! The salmon is accompanied by the freshness of mint and the cold bean salad, in an elegant and very tasty dish.
7. Avocado and mint cream: delicious and nutritious. You will only use avocado, lemon, low-fat plain yogurt, fresh mint and sweetener. Just hit everything in the blender and serve cold.
8. Mint seasoning for meats: ideal seasoning for lamb, pork and other meats and even for grilled chicken fillet. You will only use mint, garlic, grated onion, salt and oil.
9. Eggplants with mint and garlic: this eggplant is very versatile, goes well with everything (antipasto, salad, pasta…) and is very simple to make. It can be consumed pure with bread or enter in countless recipes.
10. Pink watermelon mint lemonade: a refreshing and delicious drink. You will use diced watermelon, lemons, mint syrup and water. Mint syrup, in turn, is made with sugar, water and mint.
11. Moroccan couscous salad with mint: easy to prepare, light and healthy, Moroccan couscous has a very delicate and refreshing taste. In addition, the white polka dots look beautiful in contrast to the color of the vegetables and seasonings that make up the recipe.
12. Melon and mint popsicle: refreshing, perfect for hot days! You will only need the cantaloupe melon, mint leaves and sugar syrup (made with only sugar and water). The income is for eight people.
These are just some inspirations, but mint can certainly be used in many ways in your daily life: in juices, teas, meats, salads, soups and whatever else your creativity allows!
Contraindications and warnings about consumption
Mint consumption care is only for people with sensitivity to the ingredient. In this case, according to Castro, mint can cause bronchospasm and laryngospasm (closing of the glottis), irritability and be abortifacient. “It is also contraindicated to use it for children under two years of age and pregnant women”, he says.
Sabrina points out that pregnant women, breastfeeding women and people with gallstones should consult their doctor before starting treatment with the plant.
Now you know why it’s worth including these leaves of freshness, flavor and health in your daily diet!
The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only. They do not replace the advice and follow-up of doctors, nutritionists, psychologists, physical education professionals and other specialists.
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