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How to Use Basil – Cooking and Eating Tips

By |November 14th, 2013|

How to Select and Store

  • For the tastiest basil choose fresh over the dried. Look for fresh vibrant and deep green leaves without darks spots or yellowing.
  • Buy organically grown basil; being leafy this means that if pesticides have been used they will be highly absorbed.  Also, it has not been irradiated which decreases in its vitamin C and carotenoid content.
  • Store fresh basil, wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel in the refrigerator or in a glass of water at room temperature out of direct sunlight.  Basil may be frozen, whole or chopped, in airtight containers. Some people freeze the basil in ice cube trays covered with either water to be added when preparing soups or stews.
  • Store dried basil in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place where it will keep up to six months.
  • Grow a basil plant in the backyard for fresh leaves whenever you need some.

Tips for eating or cooking:

  • Wash fresh basil in cold running water to remove any dust or pesticide residues.
  • For the best flavour add at the last moment in the cooking recipes; prolonged cooking results in evaporation of its essential oils.
  • Basil and tomatoes love each other!  Also, basil works well with onions, garlic, and olives.
  • When preparing basil for your recipes, it is the leaves that are the best but the small stems are okay.  The thick stems are best discarded as they are bitter. Note: Stems contain compounds that will cause your pesto to turn brown and dark.
  • The creamy white flowers are edible.

There are So Many Types of Basil, in fact 35 of them!

Check out this tasty Vegan Pesto recipe. It is so yummy!

Learn all about the health benefits of basil with fascinating trivia and our favorite basil recipes at :   7 Benefits of Basil – The Royal Herb

To get healthy recipes and tips sent to your mailbox once a week with more information about these foods, subscribe to my newsletter. You can also learn how to plan and prepare super healthy meals with my 2-5-30 Healthy Diet Online Courses.

Basil Tea

By |November 14th, 2013|

Good for nausea and flatulence.

Ingredients:
1 tbsp fresh (or 1 tsp dried) basil
1 1/4 cup of water

Directions:

  1. Chop the basil into small pieces.
  2. Bring the water to a boil and then turn off the heat.
  3. Put the basil into the water and let it steep for five minutes.
  4. Strain out the leaves.
  5. Enjoy.

Learn all about the health benefits of basil with fascinating trivia and our favorite basil recipes at :   7 Benefits of Basil – The Royal Herb

Basil Nutrition

By |November 14th, 2013|

Basil Nutrition

 basil leaves

Basil is very rich source of many essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins.

Basil is a very good source of iron, and calcium, and a good source of potassium and vitamin C.

It is low in calories and contains no cholesterol.

You can read the detailed nutrient content below.  You can also Learn all about the other health benefits of basil with fascinating trivia and our favorite basil recipes at :   7 Benefits of Basil – The Royal Herb

  • Basil herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotenevitamin Acryptoxanthin, lutein andzea-xanthin. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
  • 100 g of fresh herb leaves contain astoundingly 5275 mg or 175% of daily required doses of vitamin A. Vitamin A is known to have antioxidant properties and is essential for vision. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin-A has been found to help the body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Vitamin K in basil is essential for many coagulant factors in the blood and plays a vital role in the bone strengthening function by helping mineralization process in the bones.
  • Basil herb contains a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids, which helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
  • Basil leaves are an excellent source of iron, contains 3.17 mg/100 g of fresh leaves (about 26% of RDA). Iron, being a component of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells, determines the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.

Source: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/basil-herb.html

Basil herb (Ocimum basilicum), Fresh leaves, 
Nutritive value per 100 g. 
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

Principle

Nutrient Value

Percentage of RDA

Energy

23 Kcal

1%

Carbohydrates

2.65 g

2%

Protein

3.15 g

6%

Total Fat

0.64 g

2%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Dietary Fiber

1.60 g

4%

Vitamins

   

Folates

68 µg

17%

Niacin

0.902 mg

6%

Pantothenic acid

0.209 mg

4%

Pyridoxine

0.155 mg

12%

Riboflavin

0.076 mg

6%

Thiamin

0.034 mg

2.5%

Vitamin A

5275 IU

175%

Vitamin C

18 mg

30%

Vitamin E

0.80 mg

5%

Vitamin K

414.8 µg

345%

Electrolytes

   

Sodium

4 mg

0%

Potassium

295 mg

6%

Minerals

   

Calcium

177 mg

18%

Copper

385 mg

43%

Iron

3.17 mg

40%

Magnesium

64 mg

16%

Manganese

1.15 mg

57%

Zinc

0.81 mg

7%

Phyto-nutrients

   

Carotene-ß

3142 µg

Crypto-xanthin-ß

46 µg

Lutein-zeaxanthin

5650 µg

So Many Types of Basil

By |November 14th, 2013|

Basil adds a distinct tastiness to out food and gives us so many health benefits too.  There are 35 types of Basil plants which belong to the mint family.  They range from annuals to perennials and shrubs.

Here are 10 of the most common Basil:

  1. Sweet Basil is Italian basil, used in tomato sauce, pesto and salads.
  2. Greek Basil has been used in cooking and for fragrances for centuries. It has small leaves on dome shaped, 8″ tall plants. Great with tomatoes, in salads or sauces.
  3. Cardinal Basil has a rich scent, with a touch of spice. It has deep burgundy stems holding flowers with bright green leaves which is so beautiful in a herb.
  4. African Blue Basil is minty and peppery purple flowers and green purple leaves.  Good for pesto.
  5. Genovese Basil has tender, fragrant, extra-large, dark green leaves from Italy. Best for pesto.
  6. Spicy Saber Basil has a spicy flavour for Asian dishes. It stays bushy and productive late into the season.
  7. Summerlong Basil is a compact, tight bush, slow to bolt, and covered with shiny, bright green leaves. It is be great for ornamental edging in vegetable beds.
  8. Purple Ruffle Basil is highly aromatic with purple leaves and pink flowers is beautiful.
  9. Holy Basil is popular in the east for its medicinal properties. It is also used in Thai cooking.
  10. Lemon Basil with its fresh lemon fragrance and silver-green plants is native to northwest India.  Perfect for salads.

Related

Basil Tea

How to Use Basil – Cooking and Eating Tips

Check out this tasty Vegan Pesto recipe. It is so yummy!

Learn the health benefits of basil with fascinating trivia:  7 Benefits of Basil – The Royal Herb

To get healthy recipes and tips sent to your mailbox once a week with more information about these foods, subscribe to my newsletter. You can also learn how to plan and prepare super healthy meals with my 2-5-30 Healthy Diet Online Courses.

Delicious Vegan Pesto

By |November 14th, 2013|

I love this vegan pesto without the cheese; it tastes like the real thing only better! Toss with pasta or serve with bread or crackers for an appetizer.

Holy Basil Benefits

By |November 14th, 2013|

Holy BasilHoly basil has proven through thousands of years of applied use and recent research to offer a host of health benefits.

It is used in over 300 Ayurvedic herbal preparations, but is best known in the west as Tulsi Tea or in single herb supplements.  It has many applications beyond health, and that is why it is considered ‘holy’ in India.

 Health Benefits:

1. Adapting To and Resisting Stress

Holy basic is considered an adaptogenic herb.

Adaptogins have the ability to switch from stimulating to sedative effects based on the bodies needs. This balancing effect thus ‘adapts’ to the situation and  allows one to deal with challenging environments. Modern life has many challenges, both physical and psychological.

One interpretation of this effect is that holy basil reduce the negative effects stress has on the body by supporting the adrenals.

2.  Highly Alkaline – Helps Detox

Like many green plants Holy Basil is alkaline forming – so much so it traditionally used when a person is fasting so the body doesn’t  become too acidic during the temporary cleansing process.  

3.  Powerful anti-oxidant

Protects the body  from free radical destruction and ROS (reactive oxygen species) which contribute to disease and aging.

Faculty of Science researchers at Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu, India found that Holy Basil exhibits antioxidant activity and supports the body’s natural response to oxidative stress. They also found it to be supportive of the body’s normal lipid and protein oxidation levels, and normal antioxidant defense reactions.  

4.  Immune Support and Balance

Strengthens and balances the immune system to prevent infections but also reduce adverse immune reactions like asthma.

5. Powerful anti-inflammatory
Reduces chronic inflamation that is involved in many degenerative diseases including cancer and arthritis.  It to help inhibit COX-2 (inflammatory enzyme)Anti-inflamtories  usually help stabilize blood sugars and thus help weight control.

My Own Experience with Holy Basil:

I had two large Tulsi plants in my living room. They were both over one yard (one meter) high and wide.
Each day I would pinch off three to five fresh leaves and eat them raw – on the advice of an Indian healer.

Once my daughter had a cough which would not go away. When she saw a doctor she would told she had asthma and proscribed a puffer. Instead we just feed her tulsi leaves and her body balanced out completely within 2 days. I can’t be sure she had asthma or that the tulsi was the deciding factor in balancing her but we do know it helped.  Holy basil is well known to help with coughs.

Unfortunately those two plants died. I’m not a great gardener so I don’t know what happened but I plan to grow more.

Holy basil in front of templeReligious, Spiritual and Other Benefits:

  • Tulsi opens the heart and mind and nourishes the brain for experiences of meditation and enlightenment.
  • Tulsi is consider sacred by the Hindus since it is sacred to both Vishnu and Krishna.
  • It is said to balance the energetic system – with particular nourishment to the third eye chakra.
  • Many homes in India have a least two tulsi plants in front or with their homes to bring peace and prosperity.
  • There are also plants in front of temples.
  • Tulsi plants are known to purify the air and ward off mosquitoes.

 

 

 

7 Health Benefits of Basil – The Royal Herb

By |October 14th, 2013|

“A man taking basil from a woman will love her always.” Sir Thomas Moore

Basil, ‘The Oldest Herb’  is one of my favorites for cooking and health.  Discover its balancing health benefits, its amazing history and trivia, and many delicious recipes.

Basil has a distinct flavour which means that you can’t just add it to any dish you make and expect it taste good.  But when it works, it is delicious.

7 Health Benefits of Basil

1.     Powerful  anti-inflammatory from essential oils:
Eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene and terpineol are a just few of the oils in basil.
The enzyme-inhibiting effect of the eugenol can help with rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel conditions.

2.     DNA Protection
Orientin and viceninare – two water-soluble flavonoids were found to help white blood cells protect cell structures as well as chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage.


3.    
Promotes cardiovascular health
High levels of magnesium help muscles and blood vessels relax,  improving blood flow.

4.    
Anti-Bacterial Properties
The oils in basil provide protection against unwanted bacterial growth similar to oregano oil (from the same plant family)

  • Inhibit strains of bacteria (Staphylococcus, Enterococcus and Pseudomonas) which are widespread and have developed resistance to treatment with antibiotic drugs. – Journal of Microbiology Methods, (September 2003)
  • Inhibits  Shigella, an infectious bacteria that triggers diarrhea.  This is why its a good idea to include basil and thyme in you salad dressings. – Food Microbiology, February 2004

5.  In ancient times it was been used as an antidote for snake bites, and gave people strength during religious fasting.

6.  Stimulates the appetite and helps curb flatulence.
Basil tea is said to help with dysentery, nausea, and stomach distress due to gas.

7.  Alkalizes the Body
Like all ‘greens’ basil provides alkalizing minerals to balance against the typical acidic diet.  Basil  is so full of phytonutrients that it is also considered a herb in all health systems.

You can also LISTEN to me explaining these benefits in a short fun video presentation at  Basil Health Benefits.  Check it out!

So Many Types of Basil

There are 35 types of Basil plants which belong to the mint family.
They range from annuals to perennials and shrubs.
Holy basil is the most famous – known for its medicinal and spiritual qualities.

Here are 10 of the most common Basils

Basil Trivia:

  • Basil has always been a token of love in Italy.
  • Basil is Greek for ‘royal’ or ‘kingly’.
  • In ancient Greece and Rome, doctors believed the growers needed to scream wild curses to grow it successfully.
  • In old India, basil was cherished as a symbol of hospitality.
  • There were many superstitions in ancient times about Basil. One was they believed that a basil leaf left under a pot would in time turn into a scorpion and  smelling the plant could bring a scorpion into the brain.
  • When a Romanian boy accepts a sprig of basil from his girl, he is engaged.
  • Basil was used to embalm ancient Egyptian mummies
  • In India every good Hindu goes to rest with a Basil leaf on his breast. This is a passport to Paradise.
  • It was called the herb of poverty and the idea is that it would help protect those in need.
  • Sweet basil herb is known across cultures to naturally increase sex drive and fertility by fostering a feeling of total relaxation in the body and muscles while increasing circulation.
  • In Italy, it is a symbol of love.
  • The scent of basil was said to drive men wild — so much so that women would dust their breasts with dried and powdered basil

Basil Nutrition:

Basil is rich source of many essential nutrients, minerals, […]