Even though it’s believed that basil originated in India, it has become popular throughout the past few thousand years thanks to its use in Italian style cooking. Basil has proven to be so versatile and beneficial throughout its history that it has been referred to as the “king of herbs.” That’s quite the compliment, though basil has certainly lived up to the name.
We see basil in a ton of different foods, especially since it is easy to preserve and has an amazing flavor. However, many people don’t know about all of the great health benefits that they can get from eating foods with more basil. From a surprisingly high nutrition count to possible healing properties, there is a lot that basil can do for you. Let’s take a look at some of those great benefits and how much basil you should be getting in your diet.
It’s actually quite impressive what you can get out of two tablespoons (yes, tablespoons) of chopped up basil without any of the calories. In fact, there is just one calorie in that serving, making it a great seasoning for those that want to spice up otherwise bland food that you’d eat on a diet. There is a small amount of fiber, but the most abundant nutrient that you are getting from basil is vitamin K. There is 27 percent of your daily recommended vitamin K amount in each serving.
There is also six percent of your recommended vitamin A amount, and some minor amounts of vitamin C and folate. While there isn’t one singular mineral that’s abundant in basil, there is still plenty that have small amounts. Calcium, iron, magnesium, copper and manganese are found in each serving, though it’s important to note that the health omega-3 fatty acid is in each serving of basil.
While we’re thankful for our brains and how important they are, they can really make your everyday life a pain. Thankfully, basil is able to help many neurological problems, starting with headaches. Inhaling the steam from boiling basil is a great way to get rid of a headache, or can even be put onto a cloth and placed on your forehead.
It has also been shown that basil is helpful in relieving stress and symptoms of depression simply by chewing on basil leaves. Because of its ability to make you feel more relaxed, that will help you to think more clearly throughout the day and see a natural memory boost. Just the smell of basil alone will help you get rid of many of the cloudy problems that seem to enter the brain every now and then.
You probably think of basil as just a topping or an ingredient, but you can also use it to make your exterior look better. Basil oil makes for a great skin care treatment that is used with a mixture of water to erase blemishes. With its antioxidant properties, basil is able to help get rid of the bacteria that causes blemishes such as pimples and sores.
Even if you don’t have blemishes and want to keep it that way, using basil oil as a skin treatment will keep you looking fresh and clear. It also has anti-aging abilities that will hydrate your skin and keep wrinkles away. As a nice little bonus, it can help insects from getting near you as it can treat bug bites and leaving out basil in a glass of water will also stop insects from even coming near you.
If you find yourself with one of those nagging colds or allergy problems that leave you feeling stuffy, it might be time to boil some basil leaves or even start chomping on them. Basil helps to clear out your sinuses in case you have a buildup of mucus or have been around too much smoke or dust. This is also helpful in treating a sore throat.
Not only can you treat these symptoms with basil, but you can also boost your immune system to fight off any other infections that might head your way. With its antioxidants and vitamin C content, basil is a great and easy way to keep both minor and serious diseases away. Even something like heart disease can be prevented with more basil as studies show you lower your chance of heart disease this way.
Consuming more basil can help with an array of digestive problems that range from diarrhea and constipation to even kidney stones. Basil tea has been shown to reduce the symptoms of nausea, constipation and upset stomach. Even vomiting and diarrhea can be prevented or relieved through more basil as it has antioxidants that will make you more regular in the future.
Kidney stones are incredibly painful, and those that have had one will tell you. The trick is to drink more water to flush out the minerals that have stored in the kidneys, and you can prevent getting them altogether with more basil. Mixing basil and water will break down the minerals in your kidneys and help the kidneys operate at a more functioning level overall. The same can be said about your liver, as well.
Each new cell that is produced in your body needs DNA, so it’s important that you protect your body’s ability to create DNA. It’s not something that we usually think about, but those that consume more basil are typically able to produce DNA more efficiently. This is because of phytonutrients found in basil, which allow you to prevent diseases that are commonly associated with low oxygen levels in your cells. This even includes different diseases such as cancer.
Summing it Up
So there are hardly any calories in basil, can help you prevent a myriad of diseases and tastes great on top of all of that. There must be some sort of catch when taking basil, right? Well, there aren’t many side effects, but you have to be careful about what type of basil you are ingesting. For the part of basil that grows above-ground, taking it for long term could possibly increase your chance of liver cancer, but there isn’t a lot of evidence to back up that claim.
Women that are pregnant or breastfeeding should speak with a doctor before using basil, as rare problems could occur. Lastly, basil has been shown to lower blood pressure, so those with blood pressure that’s already too low should use caution. These problems are all extremely rare and shouldn’t scare you away from using basil more commonly in your diet.
After all, it’s very easy to find basil, doesn’t cost much and can be used in just about any meal. So why not treat yourself without any of the guilt and all of the great benefits?