Basil is a cooking herb that is familiar in Italian cuisine. It is loaded with vitamin A, C and K, iron, and manganese as well as calcium, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
There are many varieties of basil, some of them are as follows:
· Sweet Basil. This variety is very popular in pestos, salads, and marinades.
· Thai Sweet Basil. This has smaller dark pointed leaves and boasts a spicy, licorice flavor.
· Purple Basil. Has dark purple leaves that are used in pesto or as a garnish.
· Lemon Basil. Can be added to salads and fish dishes.
· Lime Basil. Has a lime scent and flavor that makes it great in fish and chicken dishes.
· Lettuce Basil. Has huge leaves with a mild flavor.
· Holy Basil. Referred to as Sacred basil or Tulsi. Its leaves can be used to make tea for boosting our immune system.
· Cinnamon Basil. Has a delightful fragrance and spicy flavor.
The fragrant herb is not only an easy addition to our diet. It also works wonders for our mind and body.
Basil is an antioxidant-rich herb. Lime and lemon basils contains limonene while sweet basil, the most common type of basil, has a compounds called eugenol. These components act as antioxidants along with anthocyanins and beta-carotene. They fight against free radicals that can lead to cell damage and cause a lot 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. Other ailments attributed to free radicals include cancer, arthritis, and diabetes (1,2).
The result of a study showed that healthy volunteers who took a capsule containing 300 milligrams (mg) of a dried tulsi leaf extract once a day had experienced lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides than those in a placebo. Experts concluded that the extract could help reduce some risk factors for cardiovascular disease (3).
Meanwhile, in an animal study, rabbis who ate fresh holy basil leaves had lower LDL cholesterol and higher HDL-cholesterol (4). LDL cholesterol is the unhealthy kind of cholesterol that can build up in our arteries and form fatty, waxy deposits called plaques. On the other hand, HDL cholesterol is a healthy kind of cholesterol that transports excess cholesterol out of our arteries to our liver, which removes it from our body (5).
How to Make a Refreshing Basil Tea with Added Benefits
- 7-8 Basil leaves
- 1 cup Water
- ¼ tsp Organic Honey
- A dash of Cardamom powder
- Heat a pan ad add water along with basil leaves and cardamom powder
- Bring it to a boil and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the brew becomes aromatic.
- Take off the flame and pour into a mug
- Stir in honey and serve warm
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