Why You Should Be Using More Basil

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Basil, scientifically known as Ocimum basilicum, is a beloved culinary herb recognised for its unique, sweet and spicy flavour. But this staple of many global cuisines is more than just a flavour enhancer. Packed with a variety of health benefits, basil is an herb that you should definitely be incorporating more into your diet.

Basil is a key player in Italian cuisine, adding a fresh, aromatic twist to classic recipes like pesto, where it’s blended with pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil, and tomato sauce, lending it a richer, deeper flavour. But the influence of basil isn’t limited to Italy. In Thai cuisine, it’s a common addition to stir-fries, infusing them with a distinct aroma, while in Vietnamese gastronomy, it’s a vital component of pho, a comforting noodle soup often served with an array of herbs, including basil.

Beyond its culinary versatility, basil boasts a range of health benefits. Packed with antioxidants, it can help protect the body against the harmful effects of free radicals. Basil also contains anti-inflammatory compounds, which can potentially help manage conditions like arthritis and asthma. Moreover, its antibacterial properties make it a helpful ally in the kitchen, especially when handling foods prone to bacterial contamination like E. coli or salmonella.

When it comes to nutritional value, basil is a potent source of vitamin K, crucial for bone health. It also contains traces of other essential nutrients, including calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C, all of which contribute to overall health and immune system support.

Basil’s healing properties have also found a place in traditional medicine. In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medicinal system, basil is used to address digestive issues like indigestion, bloating, and gas, as well as respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, and coughs. In traditional Chinese medicine, basil has been employed to treat headaches, fevers, and colds.

Basil is an incredibly versatile herb that adds not only flavour but also numerous health benefits to your meals. Whether you’re using it to elevate your culinary creations, boost your health, or address specific conditions, basil is a valuable addition to your diet.

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Shaun Zietsman https://www.thesomethingguy.co.za

Blogger and Content Creator from Johannesburg, South Africa.

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