Quit chewing gum, try these 5 natural mouth fresheners instead

These aromatics are not only loaded with freshness but are full of nutrients.

 |  5-minute read |   25-04-2016
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My 14-year-old's obsession with chewing gum to appear hip and to fit into his uber cool peer group prompted this write up. Like him, many youngsters associate continuous ruminating of the obnoxious sugary rubber as a sign of growing up.

Mistake, horrible mistake.

How can anything made up of unfriendly rubber and loaded with excess sugar be doing anything fruitful for your health?

Why not embrace desi mouth fresheners instead?

Here is a list of five aromatics that are not only loaded with freshness but are full of nutrients. They improve many physiological functions and prevent onset of many diseases.

1. Fennel (saunf)

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For centuries, ayurveda has recommended fennel or its finer variant anise seeds for their digestive, antioxidant and carminative (flatulence/ gas relieving) properties. A sure shot relief from colic (in babies too); fennel is a storehouse of minerals like copper, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, selenium, zinc and magnesium. Copper helps production of RBCs thus playing a role of blood purifier, zinc increases sperm production and enhances one's libido, giving it a reputation of being an aphrodisiac.

Potassium's presence regulates blood pressure improving heart health. The goodness doesn't end here, it also provides all the important vitamins one can name, vitamins A, B complex, C and E. Often, advised to be used in face packs, the vitamin E content makes fennel a natural anti-ageing condiment.

Being super rich in antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol, it also curbs degenerative neurological disorders, cancers and stomach infections. Recognised as a liver health booster, its rich fibre binds dietary fibre to bile salts and help lower serum LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. So much goodness in 1tsp and you guys want a gum? Nah.

2. Green cardamom (chhoti elaichi)

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A flavour enhancer rampantly used in cooking is also a carminative, prevents gas and is therefore, a must have after every meal. Besides repeating the goodness of fennel in itself, cardamom is an excellent expectorant.

It cleans respiratory tract by clearing mucus built up in bronchi and lungs. Ayurveda recommends chhoti elaichi as a must to kidney patients as it is a natural diuretic; it flushes out toxins like uric acid, creatinine and urea clearing out nephrons (functional unit of kidneys). Young girls/women who suffer from menstrual cramps should carry elaichi with them wherever they go; its anti-spasmodic action relieves those periods induced aches and pains. Its rich reserves of fibre, vitamins, calcium and manganese make it more than just another mouth freshener.

3. Roasted coriander seeds (dhaniya ke daane)

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Found in almost all types of Gujarati mukhwas, coriander seeds make for a great mouth freshener. Like other counterparts, these are also fibre rich and found in almost every Indian kitchen to flavour curries.

However, what make them a league apart are its fatty acid contents like oleic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid making fat metabolism worthwhile. Essential oils like camphene, terpine and linalool makes it an effective anti-depressant and anti-cancerous in nature.

Make sure you chew on them if you are a student waiting to take an entrance exam and feel that last two years have only been about cramming, don't let the thought depress you further. It is storehouse of vitamins C, B complex, minerals like iron, copper, calcium, zinc, potassium, magnesium and manganese. Coriander seeds are both an effective carminative and a mouth freshener.

4. Rose petal marmalade (gulkand)

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 A "can't miss ever" ingredient of paan (betel leaf preparation), this super sweet, great-smelling jam like food, freshens breath and satiates sugar cravings too!

Gulkand is an excellent antacid and a natural laxative (treats constipation). It is also your armour against summer heat due to its innate cooling properties that help alleviate heat-induced lethargy, itching, aches, pains and tiredness. How cool! Its efficacy in combating heat can be understood even further due to the fact that it can prevent heat stroke and put off the incidence of nose bleeding in scorching summers.

Gulkand is also a blood purifier, its daily consumption can control occurrence of acne, white heads and boils. Roses are known to be associated with beauty and gulkand retains wholesomeness of this flower to improve health both from inside and out.

Nonetheless, I don't recommend eating paan; it's the gulkand you need to focus on. The process of making gulkand requires use of white sugar so diabetics should refrain from its consumption or moderate quantity of ingesting it.

5. Mint (pudina)

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Mint are high in substance rosmarinic acid that are beneficial in curing asthma, its antioxidant abilities neutralise free radicals and also blocks the production of inflammatory chemicals leukotrienes. It has excellent anti-inflammatory properties that are effective in enhancing gut health too.

The menthol contained in peppermint induces bowel-comforting effect, thus treating irritable bowel syndrome and constipation et al. It also encourages cells to make substances called prostacyclins that keep the airways open for easy breathing.

Extracts of peppermint relieves the nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis (colds related to allergy). Presence of a phytonutrient called a monoterpene is plentiful in peppermint oil that has shown to control the growth of pancreas, breast and liver tumours.

Montoperene also curbs cancers of skin, colon and lung. Like all other herbs, mint is also nutritionally rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Chewing few leaves or using it as a garnish in summer coolers or use of peppermint works in your favour for sure.

These mouth fresheners give you multiple reasons to smile. For starters, they can be procured from your mother's kitchen, helps you save money. They protect your smile.

More than that, it's not hard to comprehend that a habit lasts a lifetime, what you choose today will stick with you till the end of life.

For your sake, ditch that gum and embrace these desi mouth fresheners. At the end of the day, it's cool to be healthy come what may.

Writer

Nidhi Tayal Nidhi Tayal @nidhitayal20

I am a clinical nutrionist and dietician with experience of almost 20 years in therapeutic nutrition, and alumnus of Lady Irwin College, DU.

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