Diet

Five reasons to add medicinal mint to your diet

It's great to have something refreshingly minty on a hot day, but did you know that this herb also has medicinal properties? Find out how it can help your digestion, and what else mint does for your health.

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One of the world’s favourite flavours, mint’s popularity in toothpaste, chewing gum, drinks, salads, ice cream, chocolate, breath fresheners and tea is tied to its feeling of freshness. This herb contains volatile oils that impart a cooling sensation in the mouth, which is ideal on a hot summer day.

Mint (Mentha) has over 25 species and hundreds of varieties. It is one of the easiest perennials to add to your garden or windowsill, but be careful — it can take over a garden like a weed.

From stomach aches to sinus congestion, people have used mint to treat their ailments for thousands of years. Take a look at the science supporting the use of this amazing green herb.

Five fresh and healthy facts about mint

1. It aids in digestion: Mint is known in the world of herbal medicine as a carminative and an antispasmodic agent, due to its ability to reduce stomach cramping, indigestion, pain and discomfort. Mint is very soothing for conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), heartburn and nausea.

2. It’s antimicrobial and anti-fungal: Mint has the ability to not only kill the bad bacteria that are in our digestive tract, it also combats the overgrowth of fungus that is present after many of us take prescription antibiotics. Mint is a powerful herb in the prevention and treatment of candida albicans (a common yeast infection).

3. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory: Many varieties of mint are traditionally consumed as an anti-inflammatory for the lungs. Mint is showing to have promising effects in clinical trials of asthma treatments by extracting the active nutrient rosmarinic acid, which can block inflammation. Mint should not be used as a substitute to any asthma medication, but rather in addition to it.

4. It may have the potential to kill cancer cells:
Mint is in the early stages of research for cancer treatments for its cytotoxic (cell-killing) effect on certain types of cancer cells, because of a specific phytonutrient it contains called perillyl alcohol. It is also a great preventative treatment, as it is packed full of antioxidants.

5. It can relieve common cold and flu symptoms: Inhalation of the essential oil found in mint leaves (through steam or humidifier) has been shown to clear the passages of the nose and throat to aid in the discomfort we experience during a cold or flu. Mint can also aid in the recovery of a cold or flu due to its antimicrobial and anti inflammatory actions.



 


Wild rice mint salad

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked wild rice
3 cups water
1 tsp sea salt
14 oz canned white beans
½ cup red wine vinegar
¾ cup olive oil
1 cup chopped green onion
2 cups chopped English cucumber
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1 tsp sea salt

Directions:
1. In a large saucepan, place wild rice, water and sea salt and bring to a boil. Immediately turn down heat to minimum and simmer for 1 hour. When the wild rice is cooked all of the grains should be soft, open and expanded to 4 times their original size. (1 cup of uncooked rice will make 4 cups of cooked rice.)

2. While rice is cooking, mix all other ingredients into a large bowel and marinate.

3. Once rice is done cooking, remove from heat and let it cool for 15 minutes.

4. Add rice to other ingredients and blend well.

Note: This salad can be eaten immediately but it tastes even better when given time to sit for an hour.
Makes 10 servings

Nutritionist Julie Daniluk hosts Healthy Gourmet, a reality cooking show that looks at the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her soon-to-be-published first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation, advises on allergy-free foods that both taste great and assist the body in the healing process.

For more amazing recipes visit Chatelaine.com’s recipe section