Basil Herb:

The Basil Herb As a Spice

Basil is one of the most commonly used herb in cooking, and there are many recipes that are enhanced by this minty, aromatic plant. Many chefs like to grow fresh basil in an herb garden to provide an endless supply of the freshest, best tasting herb for their recipes. Basil is quite easy to grow, and quiet inexpensive as well, so serious cooks should really consider growing their own leaf.

Of course the dried basil found in supermarkets, whole food centers, and health food stores is fine as well. The key is buying only the top quality basil from the best manufacturers. The less processing the herb goes through on its way to market, the more health benefits it will be able to maintain.

Nutritional advantages of basil
Basil is rich in a variety of important nutrients, most notably vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and phosphorus. Basil is also a source of iron, potassium, and magnesium.

Basil has a long and interesting history. The name basil is actually derived from an old Greek word "basilikohn," which translates to "royal." This fact illustrates that basil was held in quite high regard by many ancient cultures around the world, both for its great taste and its health benefits. This high regard for basil continues to this day, with basil being a symbol of love in Italy and one of hospitality in India.

Basil is thought to have significant health effects, particularly in improving the health of the cardiovascular system. In for strong eyesight and healthy skin and hair. Basil contains high concentrations of carotenoids like beta carotene, and these substances are converted to vitamin A within the body. Beta carotene offers even more benefits than vitamin A alone, and it is known to be a powerful antioxidant.

Antioxidants are important because they help prevent the cell damage that occurs from so-called free radicals. Free radicals are a natural part of the cell cycle, and they cannot be prevented. However, it's possible to mitigate the damage done by these free radicals by eating a diet that is rich in antioxidant vitamins like beta carotene.

What to love about basil
In addition to its health benefits, basil is one of the most delicious herbs on the market, and it's for this good taste that basil is most well known. While basil is a staple of Italian cooking, it is also used in a wide variety of recipes in other cuisines as well. If you open your favorite cookbook, you will no doubt see page after page of recipes that use this versatile and tasty spice.

When choosing dried basil, however, try to choose brands that have been on the market a long time, and the ones that are made using the highest quality manufacturing processes. This is due to how spices are handled after harvesting, which can have a significant impact on their health benefits. Choosing the highest quality basil will help you enjoy the many healthy and delicious rewards of this popular herb.

Editor's note: Every week we feature three brand new recipes. Please click here to check out these free healthy recipes.




Disclaimer: Throughout this website, statements are made pertaining to the properties and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.