How is mint beneficial for your good gut?
Mint is a popular aromatic herb known for its freshness that is often used for its medicinal properties. There are so many different kinds of mint but the most common are spearmint and peppermint. Mint contains many vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin A, iron, manganese, folate, and it is high in antioxidants. Mint is higher in antioxidants when compared to other herbs and spices, and this helps to fight off oxidative stress in the body. Properties in mint have been shown to decrease the symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and can help ease stomach pain, gas, bloating, and improve bowel movements!
Peppermint is native to Europe and Asia. Peppermint found in tea and extract form may help to relieve the symptoms of IBS such as gas and bloating. There have been multiple studies showing that peppermint oil has helped reduce symptoms of IBS and bloat, and one study was conducted with 72 people who had IBS: they were split up into two different groups, one that used peppermint oil and the other one used a placebo. They found that those who used the peppermint oil had decreases in their IBS by 40%. In a double-blinded study with 57 patients diagnosed with IBS, they found that after four weeks, 75% of the participants in the experimental group had a 50% reduction of IBS symptoms (such as bloating, discomfort, gas, and constipation) compared to the placebo group.
Though these studies use peppermint oil, the main ingredient that helps to alleviate digestive pain is menthol, which is found in mint leaves and almost all forms of mint. Though there are minimal studies on fresh mint leaves, because mint leaves do contain menthol, they may still have the same benefits as peppermint oil.
Spearmint (just like peppermint) also has properties that help alleviate digestive pain and help to improve the symptoms of IBS. Spearmint also has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties– while both of those properties may not sound good for the gut microbiome, they can actually help manage bad bacteria in the gut.
Ways to eat it
There are many different ways to add mint to your diet! You can add mint to salads, smoothies, drink peppermint or spearmint teas, and even make a refreshing mint lemon water! Here is a delicious and gut-friendly mint chocolate smoothie recipe.
Recipe: Mint Chocolate Smoothie
Ingredients (Makes 4 Servings):
1 cup mint tea, decaf
1 cup ice
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
2–4 cups baby spinach, steamed
2 Tbsp unsweetened carob powder
2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds, soaked
Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth and enjoy. Add more or less ice to desired consistency. Enjoy!
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