Basil is a fragrant herb with a distinctive flavor and is an excellent source of vitamin A, C, and K, manganese, and iron. It’s also a good source of calcium, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids as well as a range of antioxidants. One of the oldest known herbs on mankind, basil has been treasured across the world. Aside from its use in a variety of culinary preparations, basil has also potential medicinal benefits.
Basil And Heart Health
Basil is loaded with antioxidants – anthocyanins and beta-carotene as well as eugenol – which help fight free radicals in the body that can lead to cell damage and increase our risk of having health conditions like heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis. Eugenol, in particular, may help in lowering down blood pressure by blocking calcium channels. Meanwhile, the herb’s magnesium content also help in improving blood flow by allowing muscles and blood vessels to relax while its essential oils work by bringing down cholesterol and triglyceride levels (1).
In a review, results showed that sweet basil extract briefly reduced high blood pressure, possibly due to the extract’s eugenol content (2).
The herb is full of polyphenolic flavonoids, which shield much of the body’s structures from cell-damaging free radicals that can cause a number of problems such as oxidizing cholesterol in our bloodstream, where it builds up in our arteries and raises our risk of stroke and heart attack (3).
In a study, experts found that taking a capsule containing 300 milligrams (mg) of a dried basil leaf extract once a day can help lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides as compared to placebo after 4 weeks of administration (4).
Ways Of Adding Basil Into Our Diet
- Add whole, chopped, or torn fresh leaves to a salad.
- Mix it into a salad, such as a grilled corn salad or watermelon salad.
- Blend it into homemade soups or sauces.
- Add it to homemade pesto or hummus.
- Arrange some basil leaves over slices of tomato and mozzarella, then drizzle the dish with olive oil.
- Place it with vegetables in a lasagna.
- Garnish vanilla ice cream with a couple of small basil leaves.
- Sprinkle fresh, chopped basil over a pizza or into a wrap.