8 Reasons to Grow Basil This Summer

Dorian Martin | Jun 16th 2015 Apr 10th 2017

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We all know fresh basil is delicious—but did you also know it packs a ton of nutrients and can be used in a variety of ways? Time to brush up on your basil benefits and grab a basil plant!

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Rich in nutrients

Besides being the pleasantly herby part of pesto, basil actually is really nutritious. A half-cup of basil provides 98 percent of your daily recommended amount of vitamin K and 12 percent of your manganese. This herb also is a good source of copper, vitamin A and vitamin C. It also contains calcium, iron, folate, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids. A great contribution to your essential vitamins and minerals!

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Multiple varieties

There are 60 types of basil to choose from. Some varieties are based on their color, such as Dark Opal and Purple Ruffles. Other types of basil are based on distinctive flavors, such as sweet basil, Thai basil, Christmas basil, cinnamon basil, lemon basil, lime basil and spicy bush basil.

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Protects your cells and chromosomes

Basil’s flavonoids protect your body’s cells and chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage. Basil’s volatile oils also may protect you against unwanted bacterial growth.

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Many uses in cooking

Basil is used in a number of the world’s cuisines, including Italian, Mediterranean, Thai, Vietnamese and Laotian. You can use basil in numerous ways, including adding it to salads, sauces, cocktails or other beverages or making pesto, marinades and gelato.

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Anti-inflammatory properties

Basil’s volatile oils can provide protection from inflammation and its properties inhibit the same enzyme that is addressed by aspirin and ibuprofen. This herb can offer relief for rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel.

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Stops free radicals from harming your body

Basil provides protection against free radicals, thanks to its beta-carotene (which turns into vitamin A). Free radicals contribute to the development and worsening of asthma, osteoarthritis, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

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Protects you from mosquitoes

Basil may help protect you from pesky mosquitoes. Some experts recommend using the lemon basil and cinnamon basil as the best varieties to run off mosquitoes. In addition, you need to have multiple plants surrounding your living space in order to successfully use them as a repellant—but imagine how delicious your backyard will smell!

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Protects against irregular heart rhythms

Basil contains magnesium, which helps the heart muscle and blood vessels relax. This relaxation helps improve the flow of blood and protects against irregular heart rhythms. A moderate deficiency in magnesium can result in changes in heart health as well as a rapid heartbeat.