Why is Basil is So Good For You?

Why is Basil is So Good For You?

“The most useful thing one can know about basil,” writes Marcella Hazan in her seminal cookbook Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, “is that the less it cooks, the better it is, and that its fragrance is never more seductive than when it is raw.”

In the summertime especially, bouquets of basil are abundant: in the garden; at the farmers’ market; even at the supermarket. It’s as pretty as a bunch of flowers this time of year as well, with a noticeable heft and verdant leaves you just don’t see in winter.

It’s also pretty damn good for your health too. As Kara Lydon, RD, intuitive eating counselor and blogger explains, “Basil can help boost the antioxidants in your meals. … [It] contains one of the highest levels of the antioxidants beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants, also known as carotenoids, help to fight off oxidative stress in your body and may protect against chronic disease.”


So there’s really no reason you shouldn’t be using every leaf of basil you have, and luckily, there are plenty of ways out there for how to do that. Here are a few foods you can incorporate basil in:

  • Pizza
  • Thai soup
  • Salsa verde
  • Mayonnaise
  • Cocktails
  • Salads
  • Pesto
  • Compound butter
  • Ice cream
  • Sandwiches

Photo Credit: Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com; Ekaterina Kondratova/Shutterstock.com

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