Uncovering the benefits of mint

comments (0) September 16th, 2014

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Mint is to be grown in hygienic and dust free environment especially if you consider doing so in closed spaces. There is plenty of useful information on the matter.
Mint is to be grown in hygienic and dust free environment especially if you consider doing so in closed spaces. There is plenty of useful information on the matter.Click To Enlarge

Mint is to be grown in hygienic and dust free environment especially if you consider doing so in closed spaces. There is plenty of useful information on the matter.



Although the idea that herbs provide a number of benefits to humans is rampant and far reaching, few take interest to uncover the very essence of what and how. This article aims to shed some light on the many positives of mint consumption and general incorporation in everyday life as well as to objectively point out its characteristics.


Health profile The vast majority of studies were performed on mint essential oil derived from this plant rather than the consumption of the leaves. This section will deal with fresh mint leaves, dried or infused. It is important to consider that studies on mint leaves use different varieties of mints, which are not all consumed frequently in the West.


Active ingredients and properties

Herbs are generally not consumed in large quantities. Used as seasonings, they then can not get all the health benefits attributed to them. The addition of herbs on a regular and significant food can contribute, even if it only minimally, the antioxidant intake from the diet. On the other hand, the consumption of herbs alone can not meet the needs antioxidants in the body. The majority of studies on herbs have been conducted on animals from extracts of the plant. The extract is used to be able to isolate and concentrate the active ingredients, as well as to understand the mechanisms of action. In humans, it is difficult to assess the health effects of consuming herbal since the quantities consumed are generally small. More ways to find mint a good use are vastly expressed by Healh.com in the following educative article: "Fresh ways to use mint".

Antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds which reduce the damage caused by free radicals in the body. These are highly reactive molecules that are involved in the onset of cardiovascular disease, some cancers and other diseases associated with aging. Some researchers have evaluated the antioxidant capacity of herbs and all agree that fresh herbs are even higher than some fruits and légumes1-3 significant antioxidant capacity in some cases. This shows that indeed the addition of herbs regularly in the diet contributes to antioxidant intake. More specifically, the main compounds of antioxidants would peppermint rosmarinic acid and various flavonoides.

Cardiovascular disease. One study showed that wild mint delayed the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) in vitro5. Interestingly, its ability to prevent the oxidation process would be higher than nine other plants, such as sweet potato and papaya. Recall that the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in the blood is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Surprisingly, inhibition of LDL oxidation by the various plants in the study was not related to their flavonoid content and the results did not demonstrate which compounds were responsible for the observed effect. So be careful before concluding that mint protects against cardiovascular disease because no clinical studies have yet been done on the subject.


The most important nutrients  


Iron source. The dried spearmint is a source of iron for women. As for the fresh spearmint, it is a source of iron for the man, but meeting only 4% of the daily needs of a woman. It should be noted that the iron in mint, as in other plants, is not as well absorbed by the body than iron from animal foods. However, the absorption of iron from plants is favored if it is eaten with certain nutrients like vitamin C. Iron is essential for transporting oxygen and the formation of red blood cells. It also plays a role in the production of new cells, hormones and neurotransmitters.

Manganese. The dried spearmint is a source of manganese. Manganese acts as a cofactor for enzymes that facilitate several dozen different metabolic processes. It also helps prevent damage caused by free radicals. There is no recommended dietary allowance for manganese, sufficient intake.


Important precautions


Like tea, mint tea decreases iron absorption in organisme. In the intestine, the phenolic compounds of these beverages would form a complex with iron, preventing its absorption. The mint tea should preferably be consumed at least an hour before or after a meal, to allow optimal absorption of iron from the meal. This is especially important for people with higher needs for iron (anemia, pregnancy, lactation, etc.). These important considerations are not to be neglected lighthandedly just as personal hygiene and home cleanliness are to be diligently taken care of. 


There is not enough scientific data demonstrating the safety of various herbal teas during pregnancy and lactation. Health Canada recommends that pregnant women should exercise restraint in the use of different teas, including herbal teas or infusions with mint. Women should consume these products carefully and critically examine the information about their alleged benefits. Although mint (as a tea or infusion) is commonly used against the morning vomiting, it should not be consumed in the first trimester of pregnancy, unless medically indiquee. Mint contains volatile acids which decrease the rest voltage lower esophageal sphincter, causing the reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. People suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease, peptic esophagitis or hiatus hernia should avoid eating mint or mint teas, especially before or after a meal. Fresh mint contains significant amounts of vitamin K. This vitamin, which is necessary, among other blood clotting, can be manufactured by the body in addition to be found in some foods. People taking blood thinners, such as those marketed under the brand names Coumadin, and Warfilone® Sintrom® must adopt a diet in which the content of vitamin K is relatively stable from one day to another. Herbs which mint contain vitamin K, and must therefore only be used as a seasoning. It is advisable for people on anticoagulant therapy to consult a nutritionist or a doctor to know the food sources of vitamin K and ensure a stable as possible daily intake.

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