Have you heard of basil? Do you know what it is? Do you know what it can do for you?
Basil (lat. Ocimum basilicum) is a green leafy aromatic plant. There are around 60 different species and they all smell and taste differently.
Basil has strong antioxidant properties. They protect the body from free radicals, slow down the aging process of the cells and prevent certain types of cancer.
One of these oxidants is beta-carotene. When in the body, beta-carotene turns into vitamin A and prevents oxidation of cholesterol by protecting the heart and the blood vessels. Beta-carotene is also an excellent agent that plays a great role in preventing osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.
Basil can act as a natural antibiotic
According to a few scientific researches, the oil of basil can significantly boost our immune systems. It has powerful antibacterial and antiseptic properties that can treat different bacterial infections.
Basil protects the heart and blood vessels
Since it is rich in vitamin B6 and magnesium, basil can promote better heart health. The magnesium helps in the prevention of heart attacks and strengthens the cardiovascular system.
Vitamin B6 on the hand prevents the accumulation of homocysteine, a dangerous α-amino acid. It also relaxes the muscles and lowers the risk of arrhythmia.
Basil in cooking
Basil is essential condiment in various cuisines around the world and goes well with a variety of dishes. In order to preserve its taste, basil is always added at the very end of the preparation process. Always use fresh basil because it has better and stronger flavor.
Probably the easiest way you can incorporate basil into your diet is by making basil tea. Just pour some hot water over chopped basil leaves and strain after 8 minutes.
If you are feeling adventurous, you can try and make some ice desserts. Chop some basil leaves and mix them with lemon juice. Add some water and sugar can to the mixture and freeze it in ice cubes. When the mixture freezes, pour it in a blender and chop it finely. You can serve this ice dessert in a Mediterranean style. It goes well with tomato salad or mozzarella.
The most popular dish containing basil is the pesto Genovese. It is a green basil sauce that contains pine nuts, basil leaves and parmesan cheese. It is prepared in olive oil, garlic and is served with pasta, rice or brochette.