While there are around 25 species of mint, peppermint and spearmint are the most common. Typically mints have cool sweet flavor. Peppermint has a strong aroma, and greenish-purple leaves with sharp zig-zag toothed edges, and is the mint that is most commonly employed in commercial use. Spearmint with its grayish green colored leaves that have more rounded, lace-like edges, is most commonly employed for culinary purposes.
All mints contain abundant quantities of volatile oil packed in viscous packets located in the stems and leaves. These oils are utilized as flavoring in food items, perfumery and medicines.
Minty Mango Smoothie
- 1 cup of mango cubes
- 1 medium ripe banana
- 1 cup almond milk
- 10 fresh mint leaves
- 4 – 6 ice cubes
- 1 teaspoon honey
Place all ingredients in a blender and whiz until smooth and creamy.
Like most herbs, mint is low in calories housing only 48 calories in a 100 gram serving. While most of these calories come from carbohydrates, there is also a tiny amount of protein found in mint. It is also low in sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol. Mint is a good source of fiber, containing 2 grams in the said serving. Additionally it is a rich source of carotenes, a nutrient that affords plants their colors and is a forerunner of vitamin A in humans.
Mint is a very good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, along with calcium, iron, folate, and manganese. Furthermore more it contains fair amounts of zinc, niacin, phosphorus, copper, riboflavin and potassium.
Health Benefits of Mint
The benefits of mint kick into operation even before we begin its consumption. The aroma of the leaves triggers salivary glands in the mouth to release enzymes that aid digestion. Controlled studies have shown mint oil to alleviate indigestion, dyspepsia and colonic muscle spasms. The rosmarinic acid in mint gives rise to a number of actions that benefit asthma by keeping airways open for easier breathing. Mint oil is also known to prevent the growth of various bacteria and fungus.
A more recent interest in mint extends to it potential as an anti-cancer agent. The significant amount of the phytonutrient monoerpene present in mint oil has demonstrated its ability to stop mammary, pancreatic and liver tumors in animals. It has also demonstrated protection against skin, colon and lung cancer formation.