The Health Benefits of Peppermint and Green Tea

I recently gave up my daily latte for peppermint tea. … OK, in all fairness it has only been two days. But I found myself craving peppermint tea yesterday. Why? I have no idea. My body simply told me, “Hey, you want peppermint tea today.” And that was that.

When it comes to my tea, I’m very particular and biased. I like Earl Grey with sugar and milk. None of that lemon stuff. And don’t try to give me any other fancy flavor of tea. No thanks. However, when I was in the first trimester of my pregnancy over four years ago I drank many a ‘cupper of peppermint tea to help with my severe pregnancy illness (I’m talking Kate Middleton sick). And I found that peppermint tea gave me a little reprieve. I didn’t love the taste, but I did love feeling better. Funny enough, I hadn’t thought about that until today.

Then yesterday I had a hankering for it – I wasn’t feeling the greatest and my body must have known because it sent signals to my brain, “peppermint tea!” As I sat here sipping on my peppermint today, I began to wonder what the health benefits of peppermint tea are – and why was I craving it? Why did I feel better after I drank it? And what might the health benefits of some other teas be? So here’s what I found:

Peppermint tea:

According to the Food NDTV website there are eight specific health benefits of drinking peppermint tea (which I’ll paraphrase here), and they are:

1. Makes you stress-free, because the menthol in the peppermint acts as a muscle relaxant and overall relaxant for mental health.

2. Help you sleep because, just like the stress-free feature above, the menthol helps you to relax and fall asleep.

3. Helps you to lose weight, simply because the tea leaves you feeling full for a longer period and so it satisfies your cravings and you don’t ingest as many calories.

4. Helps with an upset stomach again thanks to the menthol that calms and soothes your stomach.

5. Improves digestion again thanks to menthol. The menthol “… is responsible for the antiseptic and antibacterial properties… for improving digestion.”

6. Boosts your immune system thanks to peppermint’s antibacterial properties, and those in turn help to fight off disease, which helps to improve your immune system.

7. Fights bad breath. There’s a reason all of the gum and breath mints use peppermint! The menthol in peppermint helps to promote fresh breath.

This all sounds pretty good to me! It sounds healthy, relaxing, and mouth-freshening.

In comparison, I wondered what health benefits green tea touted, and so I looked into that. Now, I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan of green tea. However, after learning about the genetic cardiovascular risks in my family and speaking with my cardiologist, I learned that green tea could be helpful in my battle to stave off heart disease. My thinking was that I could put up with the bitter taste of green tea for some incredible heart-health! I have been slacking with my green tea consumption though – but that might change after reading about the ten health benefits that green tea gives us.

Green tea:

According to healthline website there are ten health benefits to drinking green tea, and just like above, I will paraphrase them here.

1. It contains healthy bioactive compounds. And what exactly does that mean? Well, in short, “the green tea plant contains a range of healthy compounds…” And those include helping to reduce inflammation and helping to fight cancer due to natural antioxidants.

2. May improve brain function. This has to do with green tea’s key ingredient: caffeine. “Research has consistently shown that caffeine can improve various aspects of brain function, including mood, vigilance, reaction time, and memory. However, caffeine isn’t the only brain-boosting compound in green tea. It also contains amino acid L-theanine, which can cross the blood-brain barrier.”

3. Increases fat burning. Well, isn’t that something that most of us want? Green tea does this because it boosts metabolism and therefore increases fat burning.

4. Antioxidants may lower the risk of some cancers. There’s a lot involved in this, but in (very) short, green tea’s antioxidant elements are what help to lower the risk of cancer.

5. May protect the brain from aging. “Not only can green tea improve brain function in the short term, it may also protect your brain as you age.”

6. May reduce bad breath.

7. May help prevent type 2 diabetes. Diabetes involves elevated blood sugar levels and green tea may “improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels.”

8. May help prevent cardiovascular disease. This is the big one for me personally. “Studies show that green tea may improve some of the main risk factors for these diseases [heart disease and stroke], which includes improving total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.” And here’s a pretty impressive fact: “…people who drink green tea have up to a 31% lower risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease.” Well, if that doesn’t seal the deal, then I don’t know what does!

9. May help you lose weight. Green tea helps you lose weight due to it helping to boost your metabolic rate.

10. May help you live longer. I think this is a pretty important point, perhaps the biggest “seller” for why one should drink green tea. But the reason that drinking green tea can help you live longer has to do with how it helps to protect you against cancer and heart disease, and therefore you live longer.

After doing a little research and reading up on these two teas – or “sock water” as one of my coffee-drinking-co-workers refers to it – the bitter taste of my tea doesn’t taste so bitter anymore. Instead, I feel the warmth of the menthol in my mouth, then go down my throat and into my stomach, I feel calmer and healthier. Perhaps it’s a little bit of the placebo affect, but you know what? We’re not getting any younger and why not seize control of your health in all ways that you can? If that involves drinking a few cups of tea a week, why not do it? You’ll feel better! Plus you’re hydrating, you’ll sleep better, and internally your body and the tea are helping to make you stronger and healthier. Sounds like a win-win to me!

References:

Link to peppermint tea article: https://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/8-benefits-of-peppermint-tea-from-inducing-sleep-to-aiding-weight-loss-and-more-1748790

Link to green tea article: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-green-tea#10.-May-help-you-live-longer

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