There may be more to your holiday candy cane than meets the eye. Research has shown an increase in athletic performance with the addition of peppermint.
Ingestion of Peppermint
A study done at the University of Mohaghegh Ardabili last year followed 12 male students who ingested 0.05ml of peppermint oil daily for ten days.
The study concluded, “Our results strongly support the effectiveness of peppermint essential oil on the exercise performance, respiratory function variables, systolic blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory gas exchange parameters.”
The study noted improvements in exercise performance, respiratory function, blood pressure and heard rate. Participants also found that they could run a quarter mile further on the treadmill test administered, than they could without the oil. This is an improvement of 51 percent.
Smell of Peppermint
A separate study conducted by Dr. Bryan Raudenbush at Wheeling Jesuit University found that the oil need only be smelled to provoke an increase in performance. According to Raudenbush there were a number of benefits.
“They were able to go longer at the gym, able to push themselves, were more motivated, less fatigued and felt like they had more energy.”
Another great side effect was appetite suppression. Volunteers who sniffed peppermint every two hours ate 2,800 fewer calories a week.
Previous research from other studies has shown a number of additional benefits of peppermint oil including:
- External application raising pain threshold
- Decrease in anxiety
- Increase in cognitive performance
How to Get Your Daily Peppermint Fix
Peppermint oil is readily available online or at many drug stores or homeopathic/health stores. It is relatively inexpensive for the amount necessary. The oil can be ingested in liquid such as water or soy milk, or applied topically to the wrist or somewhere else that it can be easily smelled.
Peppermint Tea is a great option for both consuming and smelling the mint. It is available at most grocery stores, especially during the holiday season.
Peppermint Candy and Gum
Though Peppermint candy and gum may seem like the most fun option, they do not contain large amounts of the actual peppermint oil. That being said . . . some is better than none.
Peppermint candles and sprays can achieve a similar stimulation to oils. These are the type of things that may be easier to carry around in your gym bag as a little pre-workout boost on your gear or clothing. If you are a combat sports athlete, your sparring partners will appreciate you smelling great!