8 Reasons to Grow Basil This Summer
Dorian Martin | June 16, 2015
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.