Many people love basil simply because it adds a fresh aroma and mild-to-spicy flavor to meals and drinks. But, did you know basil also contains a range of vitamins and minerals, and provides substantial health benefits? Here is our herb of the month: Basil!
Basil is a leafy-green herb in the mint family. Of the many different varieties, sweet basil is the most common in grocery stores [i]. Also, it’s most frequently used for cooking. In some Asian countries, holy basil, or tulsi, is widely used in medicines to treat diseases [i].
Nutritional Content and Health Benefits
One cup (24 grams) of fresh basil leaves contains 4 calories, 0.8 grams of carbohydrates, 0.8 grams of protein, and 0 grams of fat [ii]. Basil is a good source of Vitamin K and contains calcium, iron, and manganese [iii]. It also provides antioxidants to help boost the immune system to fight cancer [iii]. Studies suggest that basil may reduce stress and anxiety, improve liver health, and reduce high blood sugar [i, iii].
How to Use
Basil is a flavorful herb often used in Italian and Southeast Asian cuisines [i]. It forms the base of the delicious pesto sauce, and many meat and poultry dishes feature this herb. Basil also pairs well with fruits and vegetables in drinks and salads.
- 5 cups of water
- ½ cup of fresh blueberries
- 1 cup of sliced fresh strawberries
- 15 fresh basil leaves
- 2 green tea bags
- Honey to sweeten if desired
- Slice strawberries
- Bring 3 cups of water to a boil with strawberries and blueberries in a medium saucepan
- Remove from heat, add tea bags and basil leaves, let steep for 3 minutes
- Add 2 cups of cold water, refrigerate for a least 1 hour
- Serve over ice
[i] Olsen, N. (2019). Basil: Uses, benefits and nutrition. Medicalnewstoday.com. Retrieved 15 September 2020, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266425#benefits.
[ii] Basil, fresh Nutrition Facts & Calories. Nutritiondata.self.com. (2020). Retrieved 15 September 2020, from https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/spices-and-herbs/213/2.
[iii] McCulloch, M. (2018). Basil: Nutrition, Health Benefits, Uses and More. Healthline. Retrieved 15 September 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/basil#nutrition.