Reasons Why You Need More Basil in Your Diet
A couple of weeks ago, we took a look at some of the great benefits of tomatoes, and why you need this food in your diet. Today, we’re going to examine the other major ingredient in our Tomato and Basil Soup – basil.
You may not think of basil as a health food. After all, it’s just a herb. However, basil actually has several properties that will help you to enjoy a healthier life. Here are a few of the reasons for why you should add more basil to your diet.
It’s an Anti-Inflammatory
Basil contains something called eugenol, which has been studied extensively. Researchers have found that this little substance can block something called cyclooxygenase (COX), which is an enzyme that causes inflammation. In fact, many of the anti-inflammatories that you find at your local pharmacy contain ingredients that target this enzyme.
As a result, basil becomes a healthy addition to your diet if you struggle with an inflammatory condition. For example, those with arthritis, or chronic bowel inflammation, may experience some remarkable benefits if they eat more basil.
It Improves Cardiovascular Health
Basil contains both magnesium and beta-carotene, both of which can benefit your cardiovascular health.
Beta-carotene acts as a source of Vitamin A, though many believe that it is more effective that Vitamin A when working as an anti-oxidant. It protects your epithelial cells, which line your blood vessels, from the negative effects of free radicals. Furthermore, it prevents those same free radicals for oxidizing the cholesterol that flows through your blood. Oxidization is what causes cholesterol to solidify and build up in your blood vessels, which is why so many heart health articles recommend cutting cholesterol out of your diet.
Magnesium benefits your heart in a different way. It’s a muscle relaxer, which means it prevents your heart and muscles from taking on too much stress when trying to keep your body working. This means your blood flow becomes more regular, which keeps your heart’s rhythm in check. You’ll also experience fewer muscle spasms.
It Restricts Bacterial Growth
Basil contains several oils, such as myrcene, cineole, and the previously mentioned eugenol. Scientists call these volatile oils, but they don’t cause issues with your body.
In fact, researchers have discovered that these volatile oils can restrict the growth of various bacterial strains. Such bacteria include the dangerous Escherichia Coli (E-Coli) and Listeria monocytogenes.
A little basil on your salad or in your soup will boost the flavour, and may also kill off some harmful bacteria before it has the chance to cause some serious damage to your body.
It’s Low Calorie
A lot of foods that contain healthy nutrients also contain a lot of calories. As a result, you have to go through a balancing act that involves trying to give your body the nutrients it needs, while ensuring you don’t eat so much that you put on weight.
Basil offers a solution to this problem. It contains just 22 calories per 100 grams, which means you barely consume any calories at all to enjoy the benefits we’ve mentioned above.
As you can see, basil has a lot of great qualities that make it the perfect herb for a healthy diet. Try our Tomato and Basil soup today to start enjoying these wonderful benefits.