When You Eat Mint Every Day, This Is What Happens

From tea to candy to gum, mint is a popular flavor used in many food products. While most people think of peppermint and spearmint when talking about this herb, mint is actually a species of plant that includes many different herbs (via Livestrong). These include basil, oregano, sage, thyme, and lavender. However, most research about mint refers to the plants with that quintessential minty taste like peppermint and spearmint.

One of the main benefits of mint is its ability to freshen your breath. This is why it is a popular flavor in gum, toothpaste, and mouthwash. One of the reasons mint does such a good job with freshening your breath is because it has antimicrobial properties that kill bacteria in your mouth. According to a 2013 study published in the European Journal of Dentistry, peppermint oil is an effective way to fight against the oral pathogens C. albicans, E. coli, S. aureus, and E. faecalis. Chewing on or eating mint leaves could provide a similar effect.

Mint can help with digestion

Another one of mint's most powerful benefits is its ability to improve digestion. "Research shows that mint is readily absorbed by both stomach and intestinal tissues where it has a soothing effect," Ginger Hultin, RD, told Well and Good. "It has been shown to exhibit spasm-calming effects and slow peristalsis—aka the natural movement of the intestines that aids in digestion. So it's very soothing on the digestive tract." If you tend to have digestive issues after eating, try chewing on or eating some mint leaves after your meal. Mint can also be helpful to people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Another benefit of mint is that it can improve your mood. Eating (and even just smelling) mint has been shown to help with anxiety and depression. "The study cites specifically GABA receptor binding properties and that's something that happens in the brain that produces a calming effect and can even reduce feelings of stress and anxiety," Hultin said. Mint may even help with cognitive function and memory. So there are plenty of reasons to incorporate more mint into your diet.