The word from the nutritionist
The secret of mint to fight the heat
Its fragrance is more than characteristic, its history is incredibly intricate; mint is a perennial herbaceous plant extremely easy to grow also in pots on the windowsill, because it withstands both heat and cold.
In the African desert, where temperatures are often very high, mint has always been used to combat heat and exhaustion: nomadic populations boil bunches of mint in hot water and they drink the hot and sweet infusion in small glass glasses. This is because mint has the peculiar characteristic of developing a strong feeling of freshness even when cold is not at all: it is a matter of the nervous system deceived by menthol.
Its fragrance is more than characteristic, its history is incredibly intricate; mint is a perennial herbaceous plant extremely easy to grow also in pots on the windowsill, because it withstands both heat and cold; in general it does not need special care and grows well even with those who do not have a green thumb. Like basil and geraniums, mint has a strong repellent action against insects and its scent is also very welcome in the closets.
Mint has been known since ancient times to be a powerful all-natural elixir, rich in beneficial properties: its leaves, thanks to menthol, are a remedy against gastro-intestinal disorders and can promote digestion. In addition, this plant is also effective for fighting cough, asthma and can even favor a lowering of temperature in case of high fever. At the end of this list, we must not forget its tonic and antiseptic properties and its possible use as a cure for those infectious diseases that do not require taking antibiotics.
With mint you can prepare herbal teas with digestive and toning effects, infusions with which to decongest the face and fight oily skin or effective against anxiety, menstrual pain and mental fatigue: be careful, however, not to drink these preparations late at night, because their stimulating effect could disturb your sleep!
With mint you can even prepare a home made mouthwash: just leave to infuse for about 10 minutes a teaspoon of its dried leaves in 200 ml of boiling water, filter, let cool and you will have thus obtained your natural mouthwash with antiseptic action for the oral cavity. In case of a cold you can try mint essential oil instead: it will be enough to pour a few drops into a liter of boiling water and then breathe the vapors to feel immediately better. By massaging a few drops of this essential oil on the neck and temples, however, you will get a mild analgesic against headaches.
There are more than 300 types of mint known, each with particular characteristics and a more or less intense aroma. For this reason, varieties such as "piperita", with an intense aroma, are recommended to mitigate the taste of strong foods, such as lamb or broad beans, while others, with a less intense aroma, such as “mentuccia”, are instead suitable for dressing salads, sauces and sauces, or to be gently accompanied by eggs, mushrooms and seafood.
With its pungent and spicy flavor mint is great for most summer dishes, from cold pasta to rice salads, but also in salads based on lettuce and arugula to which you can add other ingredients to taste such as cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and gherkins. It goes perfectly with boiled legumes, both chickpeas, beans, and lentils, especially if you want to eat them cold. As for the second courses, mint is good both associated with meat and fish and its leaves can be used whole or chopped, in the latter case especially in the minced meat that are used for fillings. In North Africa and Southern Italy, in addition, you can not do without mint when cooking eggplant, zucchini or other grilled vegetables.
Mint is also a perfect companion for desserts: the combination of chocolate and mint has always fascinated the palates of young and old, but it is also ideal for fruit salad because it is well associated with practically all types of fruit, from strawberries to peaches, from kiwis to apricots and especially watermelon. With mint, finally, you can prepare refreshing flavored waters as well as syrups for ice cream, granite and anti-heat sorbets.
Published 20 June 2022