The Unexpected Way Mint Could Help You Stay Cool This Summer

Summer's here and it feels like the time has finally come to have some fun. If you are ready to eat, drink, and be merry without overheating in the hot months, you may want to add mint to your list of items to grab from the store. Mint is the super herb that can cut a headache, boost your energy and calm a wobbly stomach. However, what most of us miss is that mint also cools you down, quite a lot, actually.

Yes, the cool-down is a sensation, rather than a legitimate lower body temperature. If summer feels like fun is just waiting to be had, then mint feels like a tool to keep us comfortable while we do. From good exercise to good times with friends, the menthol in mint can sucker our brain into giving us the impression that we are genuinely cooler (via Triathlete). Let's dive into why it works and also a few extra perks that come with adding mint to your summer routine.

Why do we feel cooler after tasting mint?

The menthol chemical that makes us feel cooler is found in the plant genus Mentha, (via Healthline) which includes lots of well-known mint varieties like peppermint and spearmint. It has a strong scent and flavors that prompt the temperature receptors in our mouth to tell our brain first that our mouth is cool and fresh, and then spread that idea of cool refreshment to the rest of the body. Even in the case of a hot beverage, like tea, the menthol triggers a message that we are cooling down, thanks to our "somatosensory system" – a system distinct from our system of taste (via LiveScience).

Because of that, mint can be added to spicy dishes to keep the flavor intact but bring a more balanced, enjoyable finish to the dish. Mint is unique in that toggles between a cooling effect from its menthol and a restoring, nourishing effect, thanks to its classification as a nervine herb (via Mediterranean Living). So beyond feeling cool, mint can add feelings of "calm" and "collected" to your summer as well.

Mint, the herb for a calm, cool, collected summer

Most of us have heard that peppermint is a nice stress-reliever in our tea or water, but in fact, just the scent can put pep up our steps, help us think more clearly, and boost our mood. It can also deflate bloating and diminish the burning of indigestion. Add to all that possibility of improved test-taking, since smelling mint oils right before an exam showed better memory in one study and reduced frustration levels when driving in another (via Healthline).

It's enough to get us shopping around for the best mint summer salad (consider one with avocado to add fiber and good fats to mint's anti-inflammatory perks) as well as the best mint-infused cocktails to cool our summer nights out (vodka with mint combos fantastically or make it a mint lemonade – or all together!). We may find ourselves muddling mint leaves into everything this summer, from our kids' sports bottles to every summer cup of tea, keeping summer chill while we do.