Hello food lovers,
I don’t know about you, but pesto is one of my favorite foods. In fact, at our house, Monday nights are pesto nights. My husband boils up some spelt pasta and then adds the great pesto we buy at Costco, adds sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and feta cheese. Mmmm. It’s great.
So, it turns out that basil is an amazing herb:
Protects your cells from radiation and oxygen damage. What is interesting to me is that I will often want this pesto dish if I’m feeling a little off kilter – maybe my stomach is upset, or I don’t feel quite right. Pesto to the rescue.
Maybe it’s because basil is great anti-bacterial! Basil fights all kinds of nasty bacteria, and when you pair it with garlic, which is an natural anti-biotic, your body can fight off all kinds of illnesses.
Basil contains volatile oils which contain estragole, linalool, cineloe, eugenol, sabinene, myrcene and limonene. Lab studies have shows that these oils restrict the growth of bacteria including Listeria, Staphylococcus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Tip of the Day: These particular bacterial are very now very resistant to commonly used antibiotics. The Journal of Food Microbiology (Feb. 2004) showed that washing produce in a solution containing either basil or thyme essential oil at the concentration of 1% resulted in reducing infectious bacteria that causes intestinal damage and triggers diarrhea to undetectable levels!
Preserves DNA cellular Structure
Not only that, basil has 2 water soluble flavonoids, orientin and vicenin which protect cell structures as well as chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage.
Eugenol, one of basil’s volatile oils, has been shown to block an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX). Many over the counter anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin and ibuprofen, acetaminophen- also work by inhibiting this enzyme. So -next time you think of grabbing a pill, maybe you might want to have something with basil in it.
Helps your Heart too!
Basil is a good source of both Vitamin A and magnesium. The beta-carotene in basil is even more powerful than straight Vitamin A because it protects the cells that line many body structures, including your blood vessels. The magnesium promotes good cardiovascular health, lessening irregular heart rhythms or muscle spasms. So, if you thought you just liked basil-based pesto because it tastes good, now you can feel positively virtuous about eating it. My Monday night pesto is even more appealing to me now that I know the good it’s doing. I might even consider regularly going back for seconds!
Virginia, your enthusiastic Master Gardener and Master Food Preserver (in other words, I like really great, healthy food)