I have discovered how to make homemade pesto. All I can say is wow, I will never have pesto out of a jar again. In my opinion, the star of the pesto is fresh sweet basil. Like many dark leafy greens, basil is quite good for you. Even better, it tastes good cooked, grinded up into sauces and sprinkled on salads. Furthermore, basil takes pizza to a whole new level. So, go ahead, grab a bunch at the store, plant a basil plant and get your herb on. Here are five impressive health benefits of basil.
1. It’s Helps Reduce Stress
Stress leads to plenty of other health problems such as high blood pressure. In general, I think reducing your stress can help you live a longer and happier life. According to botanist James Duke, PhD, “Holy basil has anti-anxiety effects.” The phytochemicals in holy basil help “lower cortisol, a hormone secreted when you’re tense.” You can add a few leaves in your iced tea, while it is steeping. It’s a great stress-buster!
2. It Fights PMS
PMS can be rough. However, a little basil can ease some of your symptoms. Basil has high levels of iron. Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD suggests combined a little chopped basil with pineapple. Along with being a delicious snack, this combination can help replace iron lost during menstruation and fight bloating.
3. It’s Heart Healthy
Basil contains beta-carotene which protects your blood vessels from free radical damage. As a result, according to foodfacts.mercola.com, “this helps prevent cholesterol in blood from oxidizing, helping to prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and stroke.”
4. It Strengthens Your Immune System
Basil helps strengthen your entire immune system. In fact, “basil also has antibacterial properties and contains DNA-protecting flavonoids.” And, no that’s not a Kool-Aid flavor. Mother Nature Network says “flavonoids are plant-bases compound with powerful antioxidant properties.” That is something I can feel good about the next time I eat a caprese sandwich.
5. It’s a Natural Detoxifier
I like feeling clean from the inside out. If you have been eating too many sweets or heavy foods, you can help detoxify your liver with a little basil. Try chopping up a little to put on a chopped Italian salad: Some chopped iceberg lettuce, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, chicken and basil (with italian dressing) is a refreshing and cleansing meal.
Homemade Pesto Recipe
Here is how I make that pesto I was talking about (it would be mean not to give you the recipe):
Take ½ cup of pine nuts or slivered almonds and cook in the oven (at 350 degrees) for about four-five minutes. Take out the nuts and put into a food processor (I used a baby bullet). Pulse until the nuts are finely chopped. Next, put in ½ cup of parmesan cheese and one clove of garlic, pulse again. After that, tear up 10 fresh (washed) basil leaves and blend with ¼ cup of olive oil. Serve with your favorite pasta or use it as a spread for a sandwich. You don’t have to follow this recipe exactly. You can use more cheese, nuts or basil to your liking.
I love that basil has many health benefits; and it’s delicious!
* The author is not a health professional. Please get a doctor’s advice before using basil (especially holy basil) to aid any illness.
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Health Benefits of Cinnamon: It’s Not Just a Spice After All!
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