Basil is a popular herb in Italian cooking, especially in pesto.
A range of flavonoids exist in basil, which help to protect cells and chromosomes from damage. Studies have shown that two of these flavonoids in particular, orientin and vicenin, are useful in protecting cell structures and chromosomes from damage by radiation and oxygen.
Essential oil of basil has been demonstrated to inhibit the growth of several types of bacteria, many of which have become resistant to antibiotics. This essential oil was shown to inhibit growth of the widespread staphylococcus, enterococcus, pseudomonas, and e. coli bacteria, among others. Adding basil to your vinaigrette will enhance the flavor, and ensure that the fresh salad greens are safe to consume.
Eugenol, which can be found in essential oil of basil, gives an anti-inflammatory impact, by blocking an enzyme called cyclooxygenase. Aspirin and Ibuprofen work by blocking this same enzyme. So, basil can have healing benefits, and provide relief from the symptoms of inflammatory problems, like rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel conditions.
Basil is also a fantastic source of vitamin A, which helps prevent damage to the cells from free radicals.
Magnesium is also present in basil. This essential mineral helps the heart and blood vessels to relax, improving blood flow. Other nutrients found in basil include calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamin C.
The fresh, spicy taste and scent of basil will wake up any dull salad or soup. Use fresh basil whole, or shredded to add a burst of flavor to your dinner. If you’re using fresh basil in a cooked dish, add it towards the end of cooking, so the volatile oils will not be dissipated by the heat.
Insalata Caprese is a simple salad, utilizing tomatoes, fresh mozzerella cheese, basil, and olive oil.
1/2 pound, fresh mozzerella, sliced 1/4 inch thick.
2 large tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick.
salt and pepper
On a serving plate, arrange the mozzerella and tomato round the edge, alternating mozzerella and tomato slices.
Tear up the basil leaves, and scatter them on top of the tomatoes and mozerella cheese.
Season with a little bit of salt and pepper.