The uses of the herb basil to add flavor to dishes are endless, as it can be chopped, minced, or used in whole leaf form to liven up meals such as homemade pizzas, rich creamy pestos, salads, sandwiches, pastas, and even beverages! What many people don’t know is that basil is not only delicious, but very healthy as well.
What is basil herb good for?
Here are three excellent reasons to add basil to more of your home cooking:
1. Basil is rich in antioxidants
A study published in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, “Phenolics Composition and Antioxidant Activity of Sweet Basil,” found that basil extract contained more antioxidant activity than standard antioxidants. (1)
Basil is especially rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene, which makes vitamin A for your body to use. In turn, Vitamin A is a critical part of preventing free radical damage, which is a harmful process that causes heart disease and contributes to several other health problems such as arthritis, cancer, and respiratory issues. (2)
2. Basil assists your body in anti-aging efforts
In particular, according to the study, what is known as Holy basil extract showed effectiveness at destroying the harmful molecules that can prevent damage from free radicals.Looking for a natural way to slow down the aging process? Consider the research unveiled at the British Pharmaceutical Conference in 2009, announcing that studies had demonstrated the properties of basil that are key in preventing some of the adverse effects contributed to aging. (3)
- Basil – The World’s Healthiest Foods
- Basil: Planting, Growing, and Harvesting
- Growing Basil – Bonnie Plants
- Basil – Kitchen Dictionary – Food.com
- The Sweet Benefits of Basil – Health.com
3. Got stress? Basil has stress-soothing properties
Basil (holy basil in particular) has been shown to have anti-anxiety benefits. James Duke, PhD (author of “The Green Pharmacy“), contends it has phytochemicals that, according to studies, lower the stress hormone called cortisol. (4)
Acting as an adaptogen, holy basil assists the body’s response to stress and anxiety not as a mood fix, but because it helps you function more efficiently. Several scientific studies demonstrate that supplementation with holy basil can help decrease corticosterone, a stress hormone. (5)
Try using an essential oil made from basil (affiliate link) as aromatherapy to reduce your stress levels. (6)
Another idea is to make a soothing tea infused with basil to relax and de-stress.
Take one teaspoon of dried basil (cut into tiny pieces), add it to one cup of boiling water, and leave it to steep for approximately 20 minutes. Strain and drink while it is warm. You can also add some dried peppermint for extra flavor. (7)
Sources for this article include:
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