Native to India, basil has become the pet child of France and Italy. Glossy with oval-shaped leaves, basil is recognized instantly by its fragrance and green color. This delicious herb appears in dishes ranging from pastas, salads, sandwiches to cocktails and more. Basil is the key ingredient in pesto, a thick paste consisting of pine nuts, oil, parmesan cheese and basil.
Basil is tasty, healthy and makes you feel happy with all the green color and glossy effect. People rarely consume it fresh, simply by plucking it from the plant and eating it. There are ample advantages contained in this small leaf:
- 2 tablespoon of fresh basil contains 20% of the required intake of vitamin K.
- Antioxidants are required for keeping cells healthy and minimizing the number of free radical molecules in the body. Basil contains one of the powerful antioxidants, beta-carotene that gets converted to vitamin A in the body.
- Ayurvedic medicine uses basil as one of the main ingredients in medicinal preparations to treat arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
- Basil oil (natural antimicrobial) prevents the growth of harmful bacteria.
- Food-borne illnesses are attacking people worldwide and natural antimicrobials such as basil helps to prepare safer and tastier foods. But, these studies have been conducted with enormous quantities of basil in controlled settings and the effects of these in our home environment are yet to be confirmed.
Easy to Grow & Breezy to Use
We can grow a potted basil plant in our windowsill or garden to add beauty as well as benefit from its uses. Using a handful of plucked basil leaves can enhance flavor to dishes:
- A handful of fresh basil can be added as a pizza topping or used in fruit salads for a refreshing flavor. If your child loves to eat pizza, make a healthy version by referring to www.firsteatright.com and adding a generous number of fresh basil leaves.
- Add fresh/dried basil to tomato-based pasta sauces.
- Blend basil with tomatoes, garlic, oil and balsamic vinegar for a bruschetta appetizer.
It is preferable to use fresh basil instead of dried ones as fresh basil contains the basil oils. You can refrigerate fresh basil or even freeze them. The thumb rule remains the same-use basil with other food components to make a healthy diet.