Basil: Health Benefits

While you might only think of basil as being nice in a pasta sauce, would you believe that this wonderful herb is not only delicious, but could help protect your heart? Read on to learn about the other amazing health benefits of enjoying basil!

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Vitamins and other important nutrients in basil:

Vitamins:  Vitamin K, Iron, Calcium, Vitamin A.* * Basil is either an excellent or very good source of all of these nutrients and vitamins. There are many other nutrients, minerals and vitamins present in basil that are not listed here such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin C.

Health benefits of basil

DNA Protection

Basil leaves come complete with an array of antioxidants and other wonderful phytonutrients. Some of these phytonutrients, orientin and vicenin, which are in the flavonoid family, have been found to “protect cell structures as well as chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage.” – whfoods

Anti Bacterial Properties

The antibacterial nature of basil is linked to its volatile oils (essential oils) such as: estragole, linalool, cineole, eugenol, sabinene, myrcene, and limonene. “Essential oil of basil, obtained from its leaves, has demonstrated the ability to inhibit several species of pathogenic bacteria that have become resistant to commonly used antibiotic drugs.” – whfoods

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Eugenol (one of basil’s volatile oils) can also help block the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX) in the body. This is important because COX is the same enzyme that anti-inflammatory medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen are formulated to help block, making basil a natural anti-inflammatory.

Cardiovascular Health

Basil comes complete with vitamin A (through beta-carotene), magnesium, and many other nutrients that can help protect cell walls from free radical damage (in the blood system and other body structures), improve blood flow and help stop cholesterol from oxidizing in the blood stream. basil

How to use basil

Add fresh basil to salad dressings, smoothies, herbal teas or your favorite pasta sauce.

Basil will not only give any drink, dressing or dish a great flavor, but can also help kill any microbes that might be hiding in your greens or other food. Dried basil still has many of the health benefits listed, but your best bet is fresh! Try growing some in your garden and add fresh basil to raw dishes or at the end of the cooking process to preserve its nutrients and other beneficial properties.

Add basil essential oil to natural store bought or homemade cleaning products

Adding basil essential oil to your natural cleaning supplies (Sal-suds, Castile soap, vinegar etc.) or hand/body soap (Dr. Bronners) in a low concentration 1% or less*, can add natural anti bacterial (anti microbial) properties.

Want to learn more about basil? Check out:

Holy Basil (Tulsi) for Stress Reduction & More (with growing instructions)

Sources

whfoods en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.

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