Contrary to popular belief, eating healthy does not mean you have to give up treats or desserts.
With a little bit of ingredient tweaking, you can turn almost any traditional dessert into a nutritious, energy booster that tastes good and does not crash your healthy lifestyle.
The best way to indulge is to incorporate a healthy recipe into your diet in a way that will increase energy, boost metabolism, and satisfy your sweet tooth all at once. For example, eating smaller meals throughout the day can boost metabolism and increase energy. Incorporate a healthy version of something you crave into one of your meals.
Do you constantly crave an after lunch or dinner treat to go with your coffee or tea? You don’t have to deny yourself. An afternoon snack can keep you on focused and on track for a healthy dinner. Looking to switch up your typical morning breakfast? Try mint.
Benefits of Mint
Mint is best known for its role as a popular flavoring agent. But mint has many other health benefits that should not be overlooked. Mint is beneficial when taken after a meal to reduce indigestion and colonic spasms by reducing the gastrocolic reflex (Spirling et al, 2001).
Mint may also have numerous other roles in medical conditions and procedures, such as colonoscopies. According to a recent study, pre-medicating with peppermint oil aided in the time required for cecal intubation and total procedure time, which reduced colonic spasm, increased endoscopist satisfaction and decreased pain in patients during colonoscopy.
The study took 65 patients who were about to receive a colonoscopy. Approximately 20 minutes before the procedure they were either given peppermint oil or a placebo. Then the colonoscopy was then performed. Patients given the peppermint oil had shorter cecal intubation time, lower colonic spasms, and decreased pain. Also, the endoscopists were more satisfied with the results in the group that took the peppermint oil. Patients in the peppermint group were more willing to repeat a colonoscopy in the future also.
Data shows that mint may also protect against shamma-inducted oral cancer, which is likely due to its antimutagenic properties. Shamma is a mixture of complex tobaccos that can be found in Saudi Arabia. An animal study found that when mint leaves were added to shamma as a flavoring agent, it was found to be non-mutagenic, thus abolishing the tumorigenic effect of shamma (Samman 1998).
Mint may also be a powerful fighting agent against E.coli. It has been reported to have antioxidant and antiperoxidant properties. This is because plant phenols and flavonoids inhibit lipid peroxidation by quenching lipid peroxy radicals and reducing iron in lipoxygenase enzymes, thus preventing lipid peroxidation reactions (Rasooli et al, 2010).
Mint can also be used to treat headaches or migraines simply by smelling it. It is a good relaxant and relieves congestion. The aroma of mint has been used to treat respiratory disorders and coughs by soothing and cooling the throat, nose and other respiratory channels.
Mint may also be effective in treating depression and fatigue. The scent of mint may be just enough to keep you going after a long day or alleviate brain fog. According to Sasaki 2011, chewing mint gum for 14 days may improve levels of anxiety, mood, and fatigue. Mint is also great for endurance.
Data from a study showed that 12 healthy males who were given mint for 10 days had increased endurance performance levels when given a treadmill test at the end of the 10 day trial. This is likely due to the relaxation of bronchial smooth muscles, an increase in the ventilation and brain oxygen concentrations, and a decrease in the blood lactate level.
The following is a great, healthy smoothie recipe that calls for mint. Use it as an afternoon snack, an after dinner dessert, or a morning supercharged breakfast!
Mint and Chocolate Chip Smoothie Recipe
INGREDIENTS (serves 2):
- 1 peeled and frozen banana
- 1 bunch of English spinach leaves or frozen spinach
- ¼ cup organic pumpkin seed nut butter
- ½ avocado, peeled and stone removed
- Handful of mint leaves
- 1 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract (or vanilla pod)
- 1 cup almond milk
- ½ cup coconut water
- Handful of ice (optional)
- 3 tablespoons raw cacao nibs
For a real supercharged smoothie try adding in your favourite supergreen powder!
- Place all the ingredients except the cacao nibs in a powerful blender and blend until smooth.
- Add the cacao nibs and blend for another 5-10 seconds
- Pour into a tall glass and enjoy the minty green delight!
Don't have time to make a smoothie in the morning? Try our Maximum Vibrance which is quick and easy to prepare by mixing one or two scoops into any liquid of your choice. Two scoops will give you all the nutrients you need to keep you going until dinner time.
Rasooli, I., Owlia, P., Taghizadeh, M., Astaneh, S., & Sharafi, S. (2010). Protective effects of bioactive phytochemicals from Mentha piperita with multiple health potentials. Pharmacognosy Magazine, 147-147.
Samman, M. (1998). Mint prevents shamma-induced carcinogenesis in hamster cheek pouch. Carcinogenesis, 1795-1801.
Sasaki-Otomaru, A. (2011). Effect of Regular Gum Chewing on Levels of Anxiety, Mood, and Fatigue in Healthy Young Adults. Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health, 133-139.
Spirling, L., & Daniels, I. (2001). Botanical perspectives on health Peppermint: More than just an after-dinner mint. The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, 62-63.