If you want to add some distinct flavor to your cooking, a sure way to do that is to add some flavorful, aromatic herbs and spices. They add flavor and personality to any dish and one of these spices is the Basil. Basil is a wonderfully fragrant herb that is especially popular in Italian cooking. It is added to the majority of tomato-based sauces for pasta, offering a sweet and pungent flavor.
There are between 50 and 150 different varieties. The “Mediterranean” cultivar which typically known as “sweet basil” has light green leaves. In contrast, “Asian basil” features large, hairy stems and stalks with pink flowers, purple or pink leaves in addition to possessing stronger “clove”-like flavor. There is also “lemon basil,” which has pleasant lemony flavor. Thai basil is similar in characteristics to Asian basil but features narrow, pointed, light green color leaves with a sweet licorice-like aroma. The European “sweet basil” is mild and possesses sweet anise/clove flavor. For the same reason, it is also recognized as culinary basil since it is used extensively in the cuisine all over the world.
What most of us don’t know is that as we are enjoying basil they are actually doing our body some good! Not only does it tastes amazing; it also some amazing health benefits many do not know about. So, go ahead and continue to enjoy your basil it’s helping you in more ways than one.
Helps Treat Diabetes.
Diabetes is a condition that causes high blood-glucose levels. Symptoms include frequent urination, unusual weight changes, intense hunger and thirst, fatigue, slow healing of wounds, numbness, tingling in the limbs, and male sexual dysfunction. Basil has been shown to reduce glucose levels. In addition, it alleviates the unhealthy levels of cholesterol and triglyceride that diabetes can cause. (1)
Calms the stomach
This is one reason why Italians love to add basil to their meals. Basil has calming effect which can get rid of the “full feeling” in stomach. It also can minimize the gastric acid level and prevent you from vomiting.
Has an Aphrodisiac Property (yeah😍😁).
Infertility can be due to poor sperm quality or erectile dysfunction. An inability to maintain an erection isn’t a big problem if it only occurs once in a while, but it can poorly impact your confidence and relationship if it happens frequently.Historically, basil has been considered an aphrodisiac. In Italy, it was considered a symbol of love, and in Ayurveda, it is thought to improve arousal. In Portugal, it’s still a romantic gift given to lovers. Research has also indicated that it can improve problems with erectile dysfunction (3)
Protects the Liver
Some of the primary functions of the liver are bile production and excretion; excretion of cholesterol etc. If you get liver disease, these functions cannot be carried out properly. So you may experience fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and jaundice. However, basil has been proven to protect your liver. A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food conducted an experiment on rats with liver disease. It found that basil extract significantly increased the production of detoxifying enzymes and reduced the buildup of fat.(2)(amazing huh?) 😀
Good For The Heart
Basil contains flavonoids, which reduce the risk of platelets forming clots on the arterial walls – this eventually prevents coronary heart disease and heart attacks. As per an Australian study, basil can help prevent several features of the metabolic syndrome, with heart disease being one of them. The herb is also credited with preventing numerous cardiac disorders (4).
Some studies have reported that basil has natural component called adaptogen (anti-stress agent). The herb also possesses significant anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties, which can help manage stress. Basil can also regulate the cortisol levels in the body (cortisol is known as the ‘stress hormone’). Lower cortisol levels can result in reduced anxiety and emotional stress. Basil also works to increase energy and enhance focus, both of which help one deal with stress.
Aids Weight Loss
Some research says that basil can help lower blood glucose and blood cholesterol levels – two factors that can lead to weight gain. And as stated earlier, it also reduces cortisol, the stress hormone, which can also induce weight gain. Do talk to your doctor before using basil for this purpose – as there is no concrete scientific evidence in this regard.
Who thought basil had the ability to prevent cancer? Well, the high antioxidant component in basil has an effective impact to fight free radicals; the main factor that causes DNA damage which later causes the excessive cells growth known as cancer.
Treat Fungal Infection
If you have a mild fungal infection on the skin, just crush some amount of basil leaves and apply it to the affected area. Basil has an essential oil that has anti-fungal properties and can kill and reduce the fungal growth.
Maintains Strong Bones and Teeth
Basil is an excellent source of Vitamin K which is known to have great effect in keeping a healthy bone and teeth. Vitamin K helps the body to absorb calcium and prevent bones from losing their mass.
There are Very Few Side Effects of Basil.
- For those who already suffer from low blood sugar or low blood pressure, using basil as a medicine can exacerbate your condition.
- Large quantities of basil might be unsafe.
- Do not use basil if you are pregnant
Ideas For Cooking with Basil in The Kitchen
Basil goes well with any type of tomato dish, whether it is hot or cold and it is also the main ingredient of the Italian pesto sauce.
- Sprinkle fresh basil over the top of your pizza.
- Add to tomato-based pasta sauces just before serving.
- Add to soups.
- Add to stir-fried vegetables.
- Use in a marinade with garlic and olive oil.
- Add fresh leaves of basil to your salad.
If you aren’t already a believer in the powers of basil, try using it in your dishes it works nicely in many different kinds of dishes and drinks, so it’s easy to make sure you’re getting all its benefits from your diet. Basil truly is one of the best ingredients to work with in the kitchen. How do you use your basil? Let us know.
…healthy foods, healthy lives.
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