This aromatic herb is popularly associated with pesto. Why not, it is one of the basic ingredients in any pesto recipe. It is also generally used in many pasta dishes. We are talking about the basil. Basil, which grows best tropical climate, has long been used a medicinal herb in Asia. From there, its distinct taste and scent made it to mostly Asian and Mediterranean cuisines, particularly Indian and Vietnamese.
Basil is a powerhouse when it comes to its nutritional content. First, basil has very low calorie content with only 23 calories for every 100 grams of it without cholesterol. It, however, contributes good amount of carbohydrates, fat and protein, which are later converted by the body into energy. For every 100g serving of basil is 1.60g or 4% of its recommended daily intake of fiber, which is ideal for hunger control and digestion.
By looking into the nutritional content of basil, we can say that it is a treasure chest of vitamins and minerals particularly antioxidants. Basil is filled with enormous quantity of flavonoids like eugenol, vicenin, and anthocyanin. Antioxidants are needed by the body to protect the cells from being damaged by harmful oxygen-free radicals, which increases the risk of cancer.
Basil is also naturally rich in essential oils that include limonene, eugenol, estragole and methyl chavicol, among many others. These oils that likewise contribute to its aroma give basil its antimicrobial properties. Moreover, these essential oils are found to help lower blood glucose level as well as the cholesterol and triglyceride level.
As mentioned, basil is an excellent source of antioxidants and that includes vitamin A with 175% of its DRI per 100g serving. Vitamin A is helpful in promoting good vision and healthy skin. Along with the said vitamin are huge quantities of beta-carotene and lutein zeaxanthin that also function as antioxidants once inside the body.
Apart from vitamin A, basil is likewise known for its vitamin K content with 345% DRI per 100g serving. Vitamin K is regarded as highly important primarily in blood clotting and in bone health.
Basil is a rich source of essential minerals such as manganese (57% DRI), copper (43% DRI), and iron (40% DRI). Copper and iron are both important in formation of red blood cells and transportation of oxygen throughout the body. On the other hand, manganese plays a vital role in blood sugar regulation and in formation of connective tissues and bones.
With these facts, no wonder why basil is used in wide array of dishes across the world.
The Important Health Benefits of Basil
Ageing is inevitable. There will come a time that you will experience the horror of getting old. Ageing has harmful effects not only in what meets the eye but on internal aspects of health as well. One very essential advantage of adding basil to your diet is that it prevents the undesirable effects of ageing. This is because of its richness in antioxidants. Its antioxidant content thwarts off the harsh substances in the body that can lead to pre-mature ageing. Consuming basil has beneficial effects in the proper functioning of the brain, heart, liver, and other body organs. This vegetable possesses one of the healthiest and most effective types of antioxidants called flavanoids.
Contains Anti-bacterial Properties
Aside from its abundance in antioxidants, basil also has anti-bacterial compounds that block off abnormal bacterial growth. This can pave away infection-related illnesses like common sicknesses such as flu, cold, cough, etc. This can also help remedy stomach pains that are caused by bacterial growth, for example, diarrhea and gastrointestinal disorders. In fact, this leafy vegetable is used as an ingredient in antibiotic medications because of the strong anti-bacterial compounds it contain. If you have been experiencing stomach pains, basil can help ease your condition. It is a healthier and safer remedy to stomach and digestive issues.
Inflammation is the stepping stone to various disease and illnesses whether common or serious. Inflammation is found to be one of the causes of heart ailments, cancer, liver and kidney malfunction and many others. Inflammation also has damaging effects on the skin. In addition, inflammation can lead to joint pain and swelling particularly gout, arthritis, and osteoarthritis. Studies concluded that basil consumption can discourage joint pain and swelling up to 80%. If you want to be able to move around even as you grow old, make sure you always eat basil.
Stabilizes the Heart
Basil consumption is proven to lower glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels that is very ideal for the stability of the heart. High blood sugar levels as well as high LDL cholesterols and triglycerides can trigger heart attack, stroke, as well as atherosclerosis. This can result to a weaker blood vessel lining as well as thicker blood that encourage platelet clumping that leads to blood clots. Blood clot formation primarily causes stroke and heart attack. If you want to protect your heart from cardiovascular diseases or worst heart malfunction, make sure to associate basil in your daily diet.
Basil is concentrated with powerful antioxidants that can prevent tumor growth and cancer cell proliferation. This vegetable is one of the most nutritious types of vegetables because of its abundance in antioxidants. Many nutritionists and health experts attest to the fact that increased basil consumption can reduce risks of cancer to an acceptably low level. The antioxidant present in this vegetable, particularly, anthocyanin is a great source of phenolic compounds that dissolves abnormal mass growth and free radical formation. The antioxidants also assure the maintenance and the repairing ability of the cells. Cancer is significantly triggered by damage of cells especially of their DNA. Regularly consuming basil will keep the cells healthy and protected from damage to avoid multiple types of cancer.
Good for the Eyes
Basil is rich in Vitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein, and zea-xanthin that are all very beneficial to the health of the eyes and quality of vision. These properties are very effective in eliminating free radical formation as well as their horrible effects. Basil’s zea-xanthin content maintains and protects the retina for qualified and improved eye quality and vision. It is important to regularly consume basil in order to protect the eyes from disorders such as age-related macular degeneration, blindness, and impaired vision.
Promotes Bone Health and Strength
Another good thing with Basil is that it is a remarkable source of Vitamin K. Vitamin K is a very essential mineral needed by the bones because it increases the efficiency of the bone’s ability to absorb calcium. Keeping a Vitamin K enriched diet will surely keep your bones strong and healthy even as you grow old. It will also protect you from bone-related disorders like osteoporosis, bone loss, and many others.
Rich in Iron
Basils exhibits hemoglobin synthesis because of the fact that it is a great source of iron. It is essential to achieve normal hemoglobin levels because it is the primary trigger point of anemia. When hemoglobin is insufficient, transportation of oxygen throughout the body is failing thus leading to anemia. Every body part and organ needs oxygen to perform their functions properly. If they are not oxygenated, it is very possible that they will deteriorate and even malfunction. Aside from anemia, insufficient oxygen levels can also cause irregularities that can lead to sickness. To prevent this from happening, basil consumption is of great help.