Mint, commonly known as pudina, is a herb found in every Indian kitchen. It thrives in the chilly winter climate of Northern India, with many homemakers growing it in potted plants. A liberal addition of mint leaves as garnish not only improves the appearance of a dish but also lends a unique freshness to it. You can use it both in savory as well as sweet dishes. Refreshing drinks often contain this herb as it comes with a host of benefits that include freshness of breath and cooling of the body. Furthermore, this is certainly not the extent of its usefulness either. You are sure to be amazed by the plethora of nutritional benefits associated with this emerald green herb so close to the Indian heart.
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Nutritional Facts Of Mint
Mint/Pudina is a member of the Lamiaceae or the Labiatae family. Aromatic in nature, mint possesses a brilliant green color that is soothing to the eye as well. Mint is available in several varieties with peppermint and spearmint being the most popular out of 15 to 20 types of mint grown regularly. It has been cultivated commercially in India for ages. However, any country with sunny conditions can grow it in huge numbers with parts of the USA, Middle East, and South Asia being incredibly famous for its high yield and superior quality. A variant known as Japanese mint is now being cultivated in India too. Mint is found to be chock-a-block with multiple nutrients. The nutritional content of mint happens to be as follows.
Mint (2 tbsp/3grams)
- Calories – 2
- Protein – 0.2gm
- Carbohydrates – 0.2gm
- Fat – 0 gm
- Fiber – 0.2gm
Mint is also known to contain potassium, iron, phosphorus, Vitamins A & C, along with calcium and magnesium in lesser amounts. Thankfully, you do not require to consume enormous amounts of mint for your health, as tiny quantities will do wonders too. Let’s check out the associated health benefits of mint to enjoy living a healthy and fruitful life.
11 Health Benefits Of Mint
#1 Resolves Gastrointestinal Problems
Mint has a calming effect on an irritated stomach. It has been used since time immemorial to soothe an upset stomach. You can try it to find relief from several G.I. tract issues, including indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain, and flatulence. Mint eliminates all harmful microbes from the gut and helps to relax the muscles of your abdomen, thereby enabling you to find relief. Therefore, many Indians prefer to chew mint tablets after a particularly heavy meal.
#2 Anti-allergic properties
Mint leaf contains rosmarinic acid, an antioxidant with anti-allergic properties. Regular consumption of mint, especially in the winter, can help asthmatic patients find relief. It’s anti-inflammatory nature will not only enable you to get rid of congestion with the airway but also facilitate easy oxygen passage and relief.
#3 Relief from Common Cold
Menthol, the main component of mint, can help you to clear congestion from the nose. It also helps to break the phlegm and liquefy the mucus causing it to be expelled quickly. You will thus find relief from a stuffy nose and nagging headaches when down with a common cold. This is the reason why so many of the anti congestion ointments and rubs contain mint.
#4 Improves Brain Functions
Studies reveal that the aromatic oils present in mint leaves can enhance the functioning of your brain, alertness and increase retention power. Mint is also believed to boost cognitive ability.
#5 Eliminates Bad Breath
Almost every individual reaches for mint after a large meal to refresh the breath. Mint is known to hide the nasty odour related to the consumption of pungent foods. However, this herb merely masks the smell but does nothing to kill the bacteria associated with bad breath.
#6 Relieves Morning Sickness
Smelling fresh mint leaves in the morning or chewing them will allow nausea to pass. This is particularly helpful for expectant mothers who may be plagued with morning sickness during the first trimester of pregnancy.
#7 Easy to Digest
Ayurveda, the ancient medicinal practice of India, recommends using mint to pep up the diet. It has a cooling effect on the body. Besides, it comes with both antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that aid the body to digest food without causing any discomfort.
#8 Stress Buster
Adding a drop of mint oil and rubbing it on the forehead can help to calm your mind. However, you can also sip on mint tea periodically to get relief from stress and anxiety. You will also be able to sleep well when your mind is calm and composed.
#9 Improves Skin Quality
The combination of menthol and salicylic acid present in mint can have a magical effect on your skin. Be sure to include mint in your skincare regimen for brightening up your complexion and getting rid of acne. Vitamin A present in the herb will regulate the oil secretions thus helping you to have beautiful, blemish-free skin.
#10 Good for Dental Health
Chewing of mint is endorsed by the “American Dental Association” too. This action releases anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial components of mint that not only cleanses your oral cavity thoroughly but also helps keep your teeth and gums healthy as well. Moreover, the chewing action increases secretion of saliva, enabling your body to remove excess acid within your mouth.
#11 Facilitates Weight Loss
The digestive benefits of mint will help you keep your weight down. The mint in your food will stimulate the gastric enzymes causing the food to be absorbed speedily. This will result in increasing the rate of metabolism. You will, therefore, lose additional weight and remain in shape without compromising your health.
Top 2 Healthy Recipes of Mint
#1 Mint Mung Lentils
- ½ cup mung dal/moong lentils
- 1.5 cups of water
- ¼ teaspoon full turmeric powder/haldi
- Salt to taste
Ingredients for tempering (tadka):
- 1 tablespoon oil or ghee
- ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
- A pinch of asafoetida powder (heeng)
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
- Clean and wash the lentils.
- Pressure cook the moong dal with turmeric powder in 1.5 cups water.
- Open the lid of the cooker and mash boiled lentils with a whisk or spoon.
- Heat oil or ghee in a small pan.
- Add cumin seeds and let it splutter. Add asafoetida, chili powder and fry for 20-30 seconds.
- Add chopped mint leaves, boiled lentils, salt and mix well.
- Simmer for 2-3 minutes and serve hot.
Enjoy it with hot steaming rice or Indian flatbreads (chapatis or parathas).
#2 Mint Chutney/Pudina chutney
- 2 cups of chopped coriander (dhania)
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves (pudina patta)
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated coconut
- 1 tablespoon soaked rice flakes (chiwra) or 2 tablespoons of peanuts
- 1 tablespoon green chilies (roughly chopped)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Salt to taste
- Add all ingredients to the blender along with 4 tablespoons of water and blend until smooth paste.
- Keep it refrigerated until you need to use it
Serve in small glass bowls by garnishing it with a fresh sprig of mint leaves. It is an ideal accompaniment to Idli, dosa, Dhokla, Sandwiches, wraps, etc.
Mint is a delightful herb with a fresh taste and amazing health benefits. A powerhouse of nutrients, it can be added safely to a number of dishes. From tasty snacks to appetizers, main dishes and desserts, mint has proved to be a nutritive addition everywhere. It benefits every part of the body by improving your complexion to cleansing your mouth and freshening your breath and helping you shed those extra kilos. While you will be able to reap its benefits by consuming capsules and tablets containing mint, the Indian way of enlivening food with mint remains the most popular way of using it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
A. There are various ways to include mint in routine for different benefits.
1. Eating 10-15 fresh leaves, add them to detox water or teas or to curries or other food preparations
2. By adding few drops of mint oil to steaming process for cold or add to room fresheners
3. Consuming mint juice or paste, even mint oil can be included in skin and hair health routine
A. Too much consumption may lead to some effects including heartburn, dry mouth, nausea, and vomiting. People with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) should not use mint in an attempt to soothe digestive issues as mint commonly acts as a trigger for GERD symptoms.
A. Consuming 12-15 fresh mint leaves daily is the best way. You can even consume them by adding them to detox water, herbal teas, yogurt, smoothies, salads, soups, dips and sauces, etc.
A. Yes. The easiest and most common way to grow mint is from a well-rooted starter plant in a nursery container.
A. Yes. Mint is a good source of Vitamin A, C and rich in antioxidants.