(NaturalHealth365) Most people think of basil as that robust, delicious flavor found in Italian and Thai cooking, but did you know basil can reduce inflammation, stress and anxiety levels, too? Those are just the start of the health benefits of basil.
There are a number of different basil varieties grown around the world with flavors that range from pungent to sweet. Basil is rich in the vitamins A, K and C as well as vegetarian iron, magnesium, beta-carotene, calcium and potassium.
Best of all, nutritionally speaking, its high antioxidant content helps to protect cells against DNA damage. It also has properties that make it helpful for anyone looking to reduce inflammation or reduce stress.
A natural remedy for arthritis, diabetes and heart disease
Basil’s essential oils contains eugenol, an anti-inflammatory agent; a Malaysian study showed eugenol oil contributed to the reduction of joint swelling in lab animals. Basil also contains beta-caryophyllene, another known anti-inflammatory compound.
In addition, basil has shown promise in reducing blood glucose levels as well due to its content of ursolic acid – which helps to reduce the glucose absorption that raises blood sugar levels.
Are you looking for a healthier heart?
Rich in antioxidants, consuming basil is very good for heart health. Studies have shown basil leaf extract helped lower (excess) cholesterol as well as blood pressure – which are major risk factors for stroke and cardiovascular disease. Its high content of beta-carotene and magnesium help lower inflammation and support cardiovascular health.
Protect your cells and neutralize harmful bacteria
One of basil’s most significant benefits is that it helps to protect cellular DNA. DNA can become damaged from radiation exposure – which leads to the production of free radicals. Free radicals can cause genetic mutations that contribute to cancer. Thankfully, the flavonoids found in basil have powerful antioxidant properties that help reduce DNA damage.
A number of studies have also indicated that basil’s essential oils can help to inhibit harmful bacteria growth. Staph, Bacillus cereus, E coli and harmful lung bacteria were all shown to be inhibited by basil’s antibacterial compounds.
Lower your stress levels and improve immune function with basil
Chronic stress and anxiety can suppress the immune system and drain your life of energy. However, basil has a proven ability to dramatically lower stress and anxiety levels, according to recent studies.
How much do you need? People who consumed 1,200 mg of basil extract per day showed a 39% decrease in stress symptoms like exhaustion, sleep issues and forgetfulness, as well as a return of their sex drive. Studies have also shown that regular ingestion of basil boosts immune system health across the boards.
Although primarily known as a tasty herb, mounting research indicates a wide variety of health benefits of basil, from the ability to reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, reduce stress, regulate blood sugar and reduce anxiety. So, you might want to consider taking basil extract daily while also adding more fresh basil to your favorite recipes.