About this time of year in Georgia, adding mint leaves to your chilled water can do the body-mind good.
Not only does it taste refreshing, but a study published in 2010* shows that all varieties of mint studied are capable of relieving anxiety and lifting your mood. Research also showed that mints are neuroprotective, containing antioxidants which protect central nervous system cells from oxidative stress.
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) had the highest amount of antioxidants and mood lifting qualities out of all the mints studied. Water mint (Mentha aquatica) had the highest potential for lowering anxiety.
Mint is so incredibly easy to grow anywhere. Give it room to roam, or grow it in pots. And use it liberally! You can either chop the leaves or add them whole as they are in the photo. The aromatic oils will quickly flavor the water in minutes.
I also add a little mint (spearmint) to my potato salad which gives it a little pizazz.
*Lopez, V., et al (2010). Neuroprotective and neurochemical properties of mint extracts. Phytotherapy Research, 24, 869-874.