Mint is a collection of herbs, including peppermint and spearmint, that many people grow in their homes or gardens. People associate mint with products such as candy, gum, tea, and toothpaste, but often don’t know how to incorporate it into cooking. Mint’s fresh and lively taste can be combined into recipes to add variety and to harness that goodness that mint leaves hold, all while only providing 2 calories per 2 tablespoons.
In addition to freshening breath, mint’s real benefits may come from the antioxidants and phytochemicals in it’s leaves. Menthol in mint is often used to help alleviate congestion from the common cold, as well as soothe the throat. It has also been used for thousands of years to aid in indigestion, and the peppermint oil in mint is thought to be a safe and effective treatment for those suffering abdominal discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Perillyl alcohol in peppermint is thought to have anticarcinogenic properties. Rosmarinic acid in mint has been shown to be effective in inhibiting free radicals and reducing allergy symptoms.
With all of those benefits, it’s easy to see why mint deserves a larger place on your plate or in your cup.
Mint can easily be brewed with your cup of hot or cold tea, or put in your cup of water with a few cucumber slices for a refreshing beverage. It also blends nicely with many vegetables such as cucumber, kale, brussels sprouts, eggplant, zucchini, and peas, or with legumes such as chick peas.
Meats such as lamb, fish, and chicken also blend nicely with the green leaves to brighten the flavors on the plate. Chopped mint can be incorporated into sauces and dressings to add a refreshing finish to a meal.
Dr. Shillingford’s office in Boca Raton, Florida is happy to offer our patients a recipe for Lemon-Mint Dressing that can brighten a salmon dish, or mix with freshly vegetables or chick peas. Dr. Shillingford’s gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients are often seeking recipe ideas that help keep them on track with their post obesity surgery diets.
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon sugar (or substitute if needed)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
Wisk together lemon juice, zest, sugar, salt, and pepper, slowly wisk in olive oil. Gently stir in shallot and mint and mix until combined. Use as a dressing for baked or grilled salmon, drizzle over cucumber or asparagus, or mix in with chick peas.