While you might only think of basil as “nice in a pasta sauce,” would you believe that basil is not only delicious, but could help protect your heart? Read on to learn about the wonderful health benefits of eating basil!
Vitamins and other important nutrients in basil:
Vitamins: Vitamin K, Iron, Calcium, Vitamin A.*
* Basil is either an excellent or very good source of all of these nutrients and vitamins. There are many other nutrients, minerals and vitamins present in basil that are not listed here such as omega-3 fatty acid and vitamin C.
Health benefits of basil:
DNA Protection: Basil leaves come complete with an array of antioxidants and other wonderful phytonutrients. Some of these phytonutrients, orientin and vicenin, which are in the flavonoid family, have been found to “protect cell structures as well as chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage.” – whfoods
Anti Bacterial Properties: The antibacterial nature of basil is linked to its volatile oils (essential oils) such as: estragole, linalool, cineole, eugenol, sabinene, myrcene, and limonene.
“Essential oil of basil, obtained from its leaves, has demonstrated the ability to inhibit several species of pathogenic bacteria that have become resistant to commonly used antibiotic drugs.” – whfoods
Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Eugenol (one of basil’s volatile oils) can also help block the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX) in the body. This is important because COX is the same enzyme that anti-inflammatory medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen are formulated to help block, making basil a natural anti-inflammatory.
Cardiovascular Health: Basil comes complete with vitamin A (through beta-carotene), magnesium, and many other nutrients that can help protect cell walls from free radical damage (in the blood system and other body structures), improve blood flow and help stop cholesterol from oxidizing in the blood stream.