Mint is the name for over a dozen plant species, including peppermint and spearmint, that belong to the genus Mentha.
These plants are particularly known for the cooling sensation they impart. They can be added to foods in both fresh and dried forms.
Mint is a popular ingredient in several foods and beverages, ranging from teas and alcoholic drinks to sauces, salads, and desserts.
While eating the plant offers some health benefits, research shows that several of mint’s health benefits come from applying it to the skin, inhaling its aroma or taking it as a capsule.
This article takes a closer look at eight science-based health benefits of mint.
While not typically consumed in large quantities, mint does contain a fair amount of nutrients.
In fact, just under 1/3 cup or half an ounce (14 grams) of spearmint contains:
- Calories: 6
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Vitamin A: 12% of the RDI
- Iron: 9% of the RDI
- Manganese: 8% of the RDI
- Folate: 4% of the RDI
Because of its dynamic flavor, mint is often added to recipes in small amounts, so consuming even 1/3 cup may be difficult. However, it is possible you may come close to this amount in some salad recipes that include mint among the other ingredients.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive tract disorder. It is characterized by digestive symptoms like stomach pain, gas, bloating and changes in bowel habits.
Although treatment for IBS often includes dietary changes and taking medications, research shows that taking peppermint oil as an herbal remedy might also be helpful.
Peppermint oil contains a compound called menthol, which is thought to help alleviate IBS symptoms through its relaxing effects on the muscles of the digestive tract.
Mint may also be effective at relieving other digestive problems such as upset stomach and indigestion. Indigestion may occur when food sits in the stomach for too long before passing into the rest of the digestive tract.
Multiple studies have shown that food passes through the stomach quicker when people take peppermint oil with meals, which could relieve symptoms from this type of indigestion.