Health Benefits of Mint

Sure, it's delicious in mint juleps and mojitos, but this fragrant herb also packs a powerful nutritional punch. Learn how to use mint to freshen your meals and snacks with these cool tips.

Tranquil Tummy

There's more than one reason to finish a meal with mint: Peppermint can soothe stomach discomfort by relaxing muscles in the digestive tract. Plus, its antimicrobial properties can help regulate gut bacteria, making mint an antidote to belly bloat.

In Mint Condition

Research shows that peppermint tea extract can destroy the bacteria that cause infections such as sinusitis, bronchitis, and walking pneumonia. To brew up these benefits, place a handful of mint leaves in a teapot and gently muddle with the back of a spoon. Fill the pot with hot water, let steep for 5 minutes, and add honey to taste.

Fire it Up

Grilling is one of the lightest ways to cook meat, but the high heat can create potentially cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). Mint sauce to the rescue: Scientists from Kansas State University found that marinating steak in mint and other herbs for an hour before grilling can slash HCA formation by up to 88 percent.

Try this flavorful version: Chop 12 fresh mint leaves and combine with 1/2 tsp. each dried rosemary, thyme, and cinnamon; 1/4 tsp. each sea salt and dried oregano; 1 1/2 Tbsp. honey; 1/4 cup lime juice; and 2 Tbsp. olive oil.

The Ungarnished Truth

  • For a sweet twist on caprese salad, swap basil for mint and tomatoes for sweet peaches. Layer with fresh mozzarella; enjoy!
  • Pesto change-o! Puree a handful of fresh mint and another of fresh cilantro with 2 Tbsp. lime juice, 2 cloves garlic, 1/3 cup olive oil, and a dash of sea salt. Serve with pasta or on crostini.
  • Start your day with a "mojito" smoothie: Blend 1/2 cup mint leaves with a frozen banana, juice of 1/2 lime, 1/2 cup coconut water, 1/4 avocado, and 1 Tbsp. honey. You'll get nearly 4 g protein and 9 g fiber.


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