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Health & Nutrition
Basil, the King of Herbs
How to Eat Tomatoes for Full Disease Fighting Benefits
Olive Oil's extraordinary uses and benefits
Organic Myths Revealed
The Mediterranean Diet
basil

Basil, the King of Herbs

Basil leaves are round, often pointed, and green in color. There are more than 60 varieties of the plant, all of which differ somewhat in appearance and taste.

The name "basil" is derived from an old Greek word which means "royal," reflecting the fact that ancient cultures held the herb to be very noble and sacred. In India, basil was cherished as an icon of hospitality, whilst in Italy it was a symbol of love.

Basil now grows in many regions throughout the world, but it was first native to India, Asia and Africa. It is prominently featured in varied cuisines throughout the world including Italian, Thai, Vietnamese and Laotian.

 

Nutritional contribution & health benefits of basil

Basil is an excellent source of vitamin K and a very good source of iron, calcium and vitamin A. In addition, basil is a good source of dietary fiber, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium.

DNA Protection

The flavonoids found in basil provide protection at the cellular level. These components protect cell structures as well as chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage.

Anti-Bacterial Properties

Lab studies provide evidence that the volatile oils in basil have been shown to provide protection against unwanted growth of numerous bacteria.* Scientists are using this research to try to develop natural food preservatives.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

The enzyme-inhibiting effect of the eugenol in basil qualifies it as an "anti-inflammatory" food that can provide importanthealing benefits along with symptomatic relief for individuals with inflammatory health problems.

Cardiovascular Health Benefits

Basil is a very good source of vitamin A and carotenoids such as beta-carotene, a very powerful anti-oxidant. Beta-carotene helps protect from free radical damage, and prevent strokes caused by oxidized cholesterol in the blood stream. Free radical damage is a contributing factor in many other conditions as well, including asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. The beta-carotene found in basil may help to lessen the progression of these conditions while protecting cells from further damage.

Basil is also a good source of magnesium, which promotes cardiovascular health by prompting muscles and blood vessels to relax, thus improving blood flow and lessening the risk of irregular heart rhythms or a spasms of the heart muscle or a blood vessel.

*Source:http://www.basilbasics.com





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