Basil and it’s benefits.
I have been obsessed with basil lately. I cannot get enough pesto sauce and cauliflower pizza with basil leaves on top! YUM! I love it the best when it’s fresh. I’ve been scouring the supermarkets for fresh basil plants every time mine runs a little low. OK, safe to say, I’m a basil enthusiast.
But why should you become one too? Maybe the taste and smell still isn’t enough to convince you to get on the basil bandwagon.
Vitamin A, K
I am always a fan of getting your vitamins through natural means as opposed to manufactured pills. With basil, you’re looking at a 98% daily value or DV of vitamin K and 6% DV of vitamin A in half a cup (complete breakdown at whfoods.org). What exactly do these vitamins do for us? In plant based sources, such as basil, vitamin A or pro-vitamin A promotes better vision as well as helps maintain healthy skin and bones, teeth and soft tissue. Some studies show that beta-carotene may reduce cancer risk, but only in food sources (not supplements. see article). Vitamin K (K1 in particular is found in leafy greens) consumption aids in preventing blood clots.
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency, and this is especially true in women and children. It’s even worse in female athletes (listen up ladies if you’re training/working out regularly). 100g of basil contains 3.17mg of iron. In other words, about 2 cups of basil contains 10% of your daily value of iron. All my ladies out there! We definitely need as much iron as we can get! Basil is a great way to sneak it in. Proper iron intake can lead to high levels of energy (man, I always need more of this!), better athletic performance and improved immune and cognitive function.
Do I really need to get into why antioxidants are good for us? Check out this article on Precise Nutrition for the exact details on how antioxidants in basil are showing anti-cancer activity. It’ll explaining better than I could about how these anti-oxidants can aid in protecting our cells from damage.
How to Enjoy It
Another amazing thing about basil – It’s close to calorie free and barely contains any sodium. Translation: it’s a great herb for seasoning and adding flavor to your meals! As I said earlier, pesto sauce is amazing for pasta, you can even spread a layer on a sandwich or with your morning eggs. Basil is also a great additive to any soup (especially tomato), as well as in your tea. Looking for ways to enjoy uncooked basil? Chop it up and add to any salad for extra flavor. Still stumped? Search basil recipes on google or pinterest and you’ll find many recipes to enjoy this herb.