This plant, which typically grows in tropical climates, provides a wide plethora of health benefits and it is regarded as a holy herb. The good news is that it can be grown both indoors and outdoors and it is very easy to maintain.
As a matter of fact, basil is one of the healthiest herbs known to mankind. It’s best used fresh and has a pungent flavor. Amazingly, it is one of the best sources of vitamin K and only two tablespoons of basil provide 29 percent of the daily recommended intake of this important nutrient.
Moreover, it is also high in beta-carotenes and vitamin A, two potent antioxidants that prevent free radical damage, as well as atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases.
In addition to these vitamins, basil is also a good source of phosphorus, iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium, flavonoids, and antibacterial properties.
Health Benefits of Basil
- Antioxidant properties
Many studies conducted in recent years have shown that basil protects from various chemicals and carcinogens.
- Natural antibiotic
Basil is a potent natural antibiotic that helps in the treatment of many common health problems. When combined with garlic, its healing properties become even stronger.
- Cleans your blood vessels
Basil’s effectiveness in preventing various cardiovascular diseases is a result of its ability to clean the blood vessels from bad cholesterol, medicinally referred as LDL cholesterol.
- Additional health benefits
Basil helps treat a cough, flu, parasites, warts, kidney problems, diarrhea, constipation, diarrhea, etc.
How to Benefit from Basil?
Although the exact amount has not been established yet, it is worth mentioning that herbs and spices are an ideal addition to the total antioxidant intake obtained from the diet. Basil is calorie-free but abundant in vitamins, zinc, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and dietary fiber.
As mentioned in the very beginning, basil is highly versatile and it can be used in many different ways. For instance, you can use chopped basil in the place of cheese or salt to flavor dishes or spice up dull greens. Moreover, it goes well with spicy curries, soups, pasta sauce, and tomato-mozzarella salad.
In case you are hesitant and cannot decide between dry or fresh, try to stick to the latter in order to reap the most benefits as the drying process destroys much of its antioxidant compounds and essential oils. You can also use basil in the form of tea or oil, but keep in mind that the scientific evidence regarding the efficiency of these forms is limited to date.
As you can see, there are many ways to incorporate basil into your daily diet and add flavor to your dishes. Whatever your tastes and preferences, basil will provide a health boost and improve your diet on many different levels.