Nutrition

3 health benefits of basil

©iStockphoto.com/fcafotodigital Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/fcafotodigital

Nutrition

3 health benefits of basil

Fresh and fragrant basil is a great way to make your meal more flavourful in a healthy way. Not only is basil a common cooking ingredient, it's also used medically to treat common ailments such as headaches and coughs.

Here are three health benefits of basil: 

1. Basil offers (almost) calorie-free flavour. 
Adding 2 tbsp of fragrant basil to your salad or pasta will bump up the taste – and add just one tiny calorie. 
 
2. It provides antibacterial protection. 
Washing fresh produce in a solution that contains one percent basil essential oil is an all-natural way to reduce bacteria such as E. coli and Listeria, which can cause food poisoning. You can also make a vinaigrette with fresh-pressed basil and mist it on your salad greens.
 
3. Basil helps blood clot properly. 
Basil is an excellent source of vitamin K, which is necessary for normal blood coagulation and overall bone health. Adults need 90 micrograms a day; adding 2 tbsp of freshly chopped basil to tonight's stir-fry will give you 22. (Note: If you take blood-thinning drugs, you may need to limit foods that are rich in vitamin K.)

Try out these tasty basil-inspired recipes:

Basil Salmon
Basil Pesto
Burgers with Basil Mayonnaise
Cherry Tomatoes with Fresh Basil
 
                                                       
This story was originally titled "Why We Love Basil" in the September 2012 issue.
           
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Nutrition

3 health benefits of basil

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