Basil

Health Benefits of Basil.

  • Basil leaves hold many notable plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties.
  • Basil herb contains many polyphenolic flavonoids like orientin and vicenin. These compounds were tested in-vitro laboratory for their possible anti-oxidant protection against radiation-induced lipid per-oxidation in mouse liver.
  • Basil leaves are composed of several health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene and terpineol. These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
  • The herb is very low in calories and contains no cholesterol. Nonetheless, it is one of the finest sources of many essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are required for optimum health.
  • Basil herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin A, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zea-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.
  • Zea-xanthin, a yellow flavonoid carotenoid compound, is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea where it found to filter harmful UV rays from reaching the retina. Studies suggest that common herbs, fruits, and vegetables that are rich in zea-xanthin anti-oxidant help to protect from age-related macular disease (AMRD), especially in the elderly.
  • 100 g of fresh herb basil 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 mucusa 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 production of clotting factors in the blood and plays a vital role in the bone strengthening and mineralization.
  • 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. Its fresh leaves carry 3.17 mg/100 g (about 26% of RDA) of iron. Iron, being a component of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells, is one of the chief determinants of oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.

 

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:
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