Submitted Date 10/22/2018

Fresh mint leaves are a popular herb grown around the world and have been found to be health beneficial. This is an overview of mint, including common and interesting sources, health benefits, and how to add mint to your diet.

Many Mints

Mint originated in Asia and the Mediterranean regions. It is a part of the Lamiaceae family and Mentha genus. Mints are strongly aromatic, often giving a very crisp/clean aroma. There are many different varieties of mint, though spearmint and peppermint are the most common. Other mint species include water mint, corn mint, orange mint, forest mint, apple mint, gray mint, and many others. Corn mint and apple mint are more commonly cultivated than other species mentioned, however they are cultivated in much lower quantities than spearmint and peppermint. Mint is grown near bodies of water, such as lakes and rivers. Mint can grow year-round in a wide range of conditions. Mint in some cases may be considered invasive due to its fast-growing nature. Harvesting of mint can occur any time, and storage of mint should be in the refrigerator. Dried mint leaves can be stored in an airtight container in a cool/dry area with minimal light exposure.

Interesting Mint Facts

- Mint was named after Menthe, a Greek mythological character.

- Ancient Romans and Greeks also used mint in baths and as perfumes, while Ancient Hebrews would scatter mint over the synagogue floor.

- The United States produces 70% of the world’s peppermint and spearmint.

- Mint was found in Egyptian tombs dating back to 1000 BC.

- Romans believed consuming mint would increase their intelligence.

- A study from the University of Cincinnati confirmed that sniffing mint improves concentration.

Health Benefits

Mint leaves have many health benefits due to their high polyphenolic content. Polyphenols are found in many plants and work as antioxidants in the body. Mint leaves are also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals that the body needs, such as vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as manganese, copper, folate, riboflavin, calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. Mint has significant antimicrobial and antiviral activities, which helps support your immune system and protects your body from getting sick. Consuming mint on a regular basis, whether fresh, dried, or even a mint extract, will help your body feel at its best. Mint eases sinus congestion and soothes aching feet and tired muscles. Studies have shown polyphenols may reduce inflammation as well as influence gut bacteria. This is beneficial for those looking for a healthy way to aid in weight regulation as well as ease digestion.

Adding Mint to your Diet

The best part about mint is that it is easy to add into your diet! Some easy ways are to make mint tea from dried leaves or for a cool refreshing drink add some fresh mint leaves to some lemonade or seltzer water (try adding pineapple!). For some delicious snacks, add fresh mint leaves to some yogurt and granola (or your favorite yogurt mix-ins!), or you can also pair feta cheese with some crackers, mint, and garlic/lemon sauce to top. Another way to add mint to your diet are to add a few leaves when cooking rice. Mint pairs well with orange for a delicious sauce that goes well on top lamb or chicken. Mint is such a versatile herb that can easily be added to many dishes!

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  • Tomas Chough 3 years, 7 months ago

    Very interesting Sarah! I never thought mint could be consumed in so many different ways. I'll be trying some of these out. Thanks!

  • Mary Jaimes-Serrano 3 years, 7 months ago

    Sarah, this is an interesting piece. I have always loved mint tea and spearmint gum, however, did not know all of the other benefits mint provided. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I look forward to trying mint in a few new ways. I think I need to start with the smelling of mint. The boost in concentration might help me get through the writing I do. Have a wonderful evening and a fantastic weekend.

  • No name 3 years, 4 months ago

    Informative, and I do love mint. Thanks haha just another excuse to use it.