Can mint help manage diabetes?

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Mint is a herb that could potentially help you manage diabetes. Here’s how you can use mint for diabetes to keep your blood pressure levels in control!

Diabetes is a chronic disease that happens when your blood sugar (glucose) is too high. It develops when your pancreas does not make enough insulin, keeping blood sugar levels high. Over time, it can result in significant damage to various bodily systems, notably the nerves and blood vessels. In 2019, diabetes directly contributed to 1.5 million deaths, with 48 percent of those deaths occurring before the age of 70 globally, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). While diabetes cannot be cured, it can be managed. To keep blood sugar levels in check, eating a healthy diet is vital and mint or peppermint is one such herb that is often recommended to be included in a diabetes diet. While using mint for diabetes can be beneficial, before you use it, there’s something you should know.

What is mint?

Mint, also known as pudina, is a fragrant herbaceous plant known for its refreshing taste and aroma. It belongs to the genus Mentha and is commonly used for culinary and medicinal purposes. Mint leaves are often used fresh or dried in teas, cocktails, desserts, and some dishes for their cooling sensation and distinct flavour.

Also read: My mom says drinking mint water helps in weight loss

Why is mint healthy?

Packed with nutrients such as vitamins A and C, along with minerals such as calcium and magnesium, mint leaves offer several health benefits. It is rich in iron, potassium, and manganese, which help improve digestion and brain function. Thanks to its potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, mint helps protect your body against oxidative stress, a type of damage to cells caused by free radicals, according to a study published by Food Production, Processing, and Nutrition.

Mint is very healthy! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What are the benefits of mint for diabetes?

Mint offers several benefits that may help reduce the risk of developing diabetes and support those already living with the condition.

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1. Packed with antioxidants

“Mint contains rosmarinic acid and flavonoids, which can help regulate blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity and reducing glucose absorption. Moreover, mint is rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C, which can help fight oxidative stress and inflammation in diabetic patients, says Deepika Jayaswal, a consultant dietitian and nutritionist. Additionally, mint’s natural aroma and flavour can enhance the taste of food without the need for added sugars, making it a healthier option for individuals watching their carbohydrate intake.

2. Rich in fibre

Mint can be particularly beneficial for those with diabetes due to Its high fibre content. It helps regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, thus preventing spikes and crashes. Moreover, mint’s anti-inflammatory properties may also help reduce inflammation associated with diabetes complications. “Mint tea, in particular, has been shown to have hypoglycemic effects, potentially lowering blood sugar levels after meals,” explains Jayaswal.

3. Reduces stress

Mint has a calming effect that may also be beneficial for lowering the stress level in people with diabetes. Stress can raise your blood sugar levels and make them more difficult to control, according to the University of California in San Francisco.

While it is true that mint or peppermint may help lower blood sugar levels, it is not recommended to consume them if you are taking medication for diabetes. Let’s understand why.

Side effects of mint for diabetes

While mint provides potential benefits and is considered safe when used moderately, there are a few things to keep in mind. People can experience side effects if it is consumed in large quantities or in concentrated forms. “Some of these side effects include heartburn, acid reflux, and possible allergic reactions,” says the expert. Also, mint supplements may interact with medications prescribed for diabetes and can cause harmful side effects.

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Also read: 7 herbs to lower blood sugar levels naturally

Diabetes check
Mint is good for diabetes but only in moderation. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

How to consume mint to manage blood sugar levels?

While consuming mint can be refreshing, care should be taken to consume it in small quantities and in diluted forms.

1. Garnishing salads, smoothies, or fruit bowls with fresh mint leaves not only gives a burst of flavour but also provides nutritional benefits.
2. Fresh or dried mint leaves can be used to make herbal tea that can be sweetened with a natural sweetener like stevia.
3. You can also mix mint leaves in regular water along with slices of lemon or cucumber for a cool and refreshing beverage.

While mint may help reduce the risk of diabetes, it is advised to consult your healthcare provider before introducing mint into your diet if you are diabetic.

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