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Will Eating Mint Cool You Down?

Fresh mint leaves with a mortar and pestle
5 second Studio/Shutterstock.com

We’re deep into the dog days of summer, and depending on where you live, the heat could be taking its toll on you. While you might not exactly be ready for snow to start falling, it’s understandable to want to beat the heat and stay cool when the sun is beating down. Things like swimming, staying hydrated, and enjoying the occasional frozen treat can help—but so can mint.

Yes, of course, that includes mint chip ice cream. But, if you don’t want to work through a pint each day, mint leaves themselves will do the trick.

While mint doesn’t actually reduce your body temperature, it can play a little “trick” on your brain to make you feel cooler.

Mint contains an organic compound called menthol—the same stuff you’ll often find in things like Vapo Rub and cough drops. It provides a cooling sensation that can offer relief when you’re feeling congested, but it can also trick your mind into cooling off your body.

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The menthol found in mint triggers certain protein sensory receptors in the mouth. The protein is called TRPM8. When TRPM8 is activated in your nerve cells, those cells send a signal to your brain that you’re experiencing a cold sensation—even when you’re really not.

With that in mind, something like hot mint tea can actually cool down your body. It might seem crazy, and while the tea itself will likely raise your body temperature, you’ll feel cool and comfortable while consuming it.

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Of course, if you don’t want to sip on a hot beverage in the summer, that’s totally understandable. Thankfully, mint is a versatile herb and can be used in much more than ice cream and tea.

One of the best ways to consume it is in a fruit salad. What better way to cool off and get a boost of nutrients while you’re at it?

Mint is also very easy to grow, and some people enjoy chewing on the leaves straight out of the garden. As an added bonus, mint leaves can aid with digestion, and you’ll have naturally fresh breath!

Additionally, all plants in the mint family offer this cooling effect. While they might not have as strong of a menthol presence as mint itself, herbs like basil, thyme, sage, and oregano can all help to cool you down. Those are such common herbs that you can use them in everything from pizza and pasta to chicken and salads.

While there are plenty of ways to beat the summer heat, cooling yourself down from the inside out is one of the best. This simple “trick” is a great way to enjoy the natural benefits of mint while feeling cool and refreshed as the temperatures continue to rise.

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read Full Bio »
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