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Ingredient of the week: Mint leaves

 Mint leaves have an amazing aroma and a cool lingering aftertaste perfect for spicy dishes (Image: Shutterstock)

I am sure you have come across mint leaves during one of your grocery runs at the supermarket. Usually they are just sitting on the shelves looking all pretty and you wonder what people do with these.

Like most people, I used to associate mint leaves with mojitos and let’s admit, mint leaves make cocktails look way cooler and taste better.

Mint or mentha originates from the plant species Lamiaceae which includes peppermint and spearmint which are not very novel.

 Is there anything better than cocktail spiced with mint leaves? (Image: Shutterstock)

This is because most toothpastes, chewing gum and beauty products are made from these plant species and they give off that cool effect.

Most people prefer their mint leaves fresh and raw this way they can reap all their benefits from this herb but to help it last longer, it can be dried and used in oils, infusions and tea.

Did you know that fresh mint like most herbs not only adds flavour to your food but it helps reduce sugar and salt concentration in your body?

 Mint tea is perfect for soothing those colds and allergies (Image: Shutterstock)

Mint as its name may suggest, is used for different medicinal purposes as an antioxidant and a digestive soother.

Also ever wondered why mint oil is used in massage parlours? Yes, mint leaves help you calm down and regulate muscle relaxation.

Mint leaves will also play a key role in soothing those allergies and colds, if you are looking for a natural cure.

 With mint pesto you can garnish most types of pastas for that extra spice (Image: Shutterstock)

How to add mint leaves to your diet

Due to its sweet taste and lingering cool effect after ingestion, most people find mint leaves an impossible ingredient to incorporate in recipes.

However, although your options may seem limited to mint tea and cocktail garnishing, with mint pesto you can work wonders.

 Grilled chicken and some mint pesto is everything (Image: Shutterstock)

Using mint pesto, all you will need to do is add a teaspoon of it to your cooked foods like pasta, smoothies, salad, rice or some grilled steak, the list is endless and your meal is good to go.

So the next time you go grocery shopping don’t think twice about picking those mint leaves.

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