Almost entirely used as garnish in the US, mint actually boasts a handful of nutritional properties that make it useful in other areas of cuisine. Mint is popular all over the world as can be seen in numerous cultures around the world such as the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Indian, Southeast Asia and Pacific Rim, and Mexico. Mint is considered a symbol of hospitality or welcome whether it's prepared in a hot beverage or hung in the doorway. Here are some powerful reasons to use mint in more of your meals and snacks and not just your beverages or desserts.
Mint has the capacity to make any person a connoisseur of so many of the world’s finest cuisines. From appetizers to soups, side dishes to salads, entrees to desserts and beverages to cocktails every culture uses mint differently. While some cultures start their meals with mint in the appetizer to promote digestion, other cultures use mint in between courses as a palate cleanser to help facilitate digestion more comfortably, while still others finish their meal with mint, such as in Morocco where mint tea is served at the end of the meal. There's more than one reason to finish a meal with mint, it is a breath freshener, it soothes stomach discomfort by relaxing the muscles in the digestive tract and its anti microbial properties regulate the bacteria in the stomach reducing bloating. Because of these properties mint can also be soothing for nausea, headache and motion sickness. Even just the strong and refreshing aroma of mint can alleviate stomach cramps, headache or nausea.
Mint also has the ability to destroy the bacteria that can cause infections such as sinusitis, bronchitis, and walking pneumonia. Even the strong smell of mint can clear up congestion of the nose, throat, bronchi and lungs from asthma or the common cold. It cools and soothes the respiratory channels and reduces inflammation and irritation caused by chronic coughing. It also inhibits the release of histamines which cause severe allergy symptoms associated with hay fever.
Another reason to eat more mint includes its germicidal qualities. Yes mint can freshen your breath but it also inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria inside your mouth by cleaning your teeth and tongue. That's why mint is one of the most common elements in dental products however it's much easier to get the same results by eating or chewing on mint leaves.
Mint is a naturally cooling herb that stimulates the body and mind with its strong aromas and refreshing taste. It's antiseptic properties work wonders on the entire body and add a ton of nutritional value to its already potent flavor. Remember to add some mint to your next meal.