Nutritional contribution & health benefits of basil
Basil is an excellent source of vitamin K and a very good source of iron, calcium and vitamin A. In addition, basil is a good source of dietary fiber, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium.
The flavonoids found in basil provide protection at the cellular level. These components protect cell structures as well as chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage.
Lab studies provide evidence that the volatile oils in basil have been shown to provide protection against unwanted growth of numerous bacteria.* Scientists are using this research to try to develop natural food preservatives.
The enzyme-inhibiting effect of the eugenol in basil qualifies it as an "anti-inflammatory" food that can provide importanthealing benefits along with symptomatic relief for individuals with inflammatory health problems.
Cardiovascular Health Benefits
Basil is a very good source of vitamin A and carotenoids such as beta-carotene, a very powerful anti-oxidant. Beta-carotene helps protect from free radical damage, and prevent strokes caused by oxidized cholesterol in the blood stream. Free radical damage is a contributing factor in many other conditions as well, including asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. The beta-carotene found in basil may help to lessen the progression of these conditions while protecting cells from further damage.
Basil is also a good source of magnesium, which promotes cardiovascular health by prompting muscles and blood vessels to relax, thus improving blood flow and lessening the risk of irregular heart rhythms or a spasms of the heart muscle or a blood vessel.