Candy canes have been a large part of the holiday season for the longest time. But do you know where they came from?
Originally handed out during Christmas skits in the 1600’s, candy canes were just long sugar sticks given to children as treats. This tradition continued for many years. During the 1900’s, the red and white striped candy canes became widely popular.
The shape of the Christmas candy also has significance. Some say that the candy was shaped in a cane form in order to hang them on Christmas trees; this was when putting food on one’s tree was the norm. Others contend that the candy cane represents the shepherd’s staff in the Christmas story. The candy cane shape actually represents the shepherds who looked for Jesus the night He was born.
Enough on the history, let’s talk about the health benefits. The main ingredients in candy canes are sugar, peppermint oil, and water. Although the word ‘candy’ doesn’t initially make you think of something healthy, there can be some health benefits to this Christmas treat.
- Peppermint oil is an antioxidant. This means that it helps the body fight off free radical damage and keeps you healthy.
- It aids in digestion. Peppermint can help with bloating and stomach ache. It also helps with indigestion and heartburn.
- It helps with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This also means it helps with abdominal pains and irregular bowel movements.
- Peppermint helps with bad breath. Peppermint actually helps kill the bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath. Try eating a peppermint before a date or after a meal.
- It helps with one’s mood. A study published in 2008 reported that individuals who ate peppermint candies had an increase in alertness and were much calmer when participating in stressful activities. This occurs due to the fact that peppermint increases one’s oxygen saturation and blood pressure by a little bit. As a result, the brain works better with more oxygen.
- It helps you study. More sugar means more energy to study. Perhaps finals week doesn’t have to be as bad as we thought!
- Health Benefits of Peppermint Candy
- Does Peppermint Candy Stimulate the Brain?
- The History of the Candy Cane