Since you’ve probably got some candy canes already…
It’s kinda paradoxical that mint is considered one of the signature flavors of winter, isn’t it? You’d think it’d be something warm and savory, but when it starts getting chilly out, people just seem to love that cool, refreshing flavor. But while mint is quite tasty on its own, you may not know that this palette-cleansing plant has some genuine health benefits.
Peppermint oil and supplements have been linked to improvements in those who suffer from bowel-related conditions like IBS. See, the menthol in mint contains an anti-spasmodic agent, which as the name implies, keeps your muscles from spasming. Muscle spasms are one of the major contributing causes of IBS, so when you dial back the spasms, it doesn’t hit you as hard. Some of the essential oils found in mint also have powerful antibacterial properties, which makes mint an excellent weapon against potentially harmful bacteria trying to invade your gastrointestinal tract. It’s not an absolute prevention, of course, but a little extra mint in your food can only do you good.
Speaking of fighting disease, mint is also great for boosting your immune system. A small serving of spearmint gives you a big helping of vitamin A, healing tissue damage and protecting it from further harm. It’s also an antioxidant, shoring up your circulatory system against heart disease. While this hasn’t been confirmed, some studies have suggested that certain compounds in mint could even prevent the formation of cancerous tumors.
Putting all the obvious benefits aside, though, mint is just great for a diet. Balancing the flavor of your food with mint cleanses the palette, and lowers cravings for foods high in sodium. And like I said, what’s the holiday season without some minty treats?