Most people aren’t aware of the nutritional facts and medicinal values of basil seeds. The seeds were traditionally used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. Now, they are starting to gain popularity in the West. We eat basil seeds obtained from the sweet basil plant or Ocimum basilicum. Basil seeds are black with a tear shape, similar size as chia seeds and are rich in protein, and iron. The health benefits of basil seeds range from treating cough to boosting immunity to digestion to weight loss. Here are the fascinating benefits and uses of basil seeds.
Contain Plant-Based Omega 3 Fat
One teaspoon of basil seeds contains two and a half grams of fat. However, the amount of fat varies with growing conditions. About half of this fat, 1240mg per teaspoon, is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega 3 fat. Taking one teaspoon of basil seeds could meet all of your daily requirement for ALA.
ALA is essential for the production of energy in the body. Additionally, it contains anti-inflammatory benefits and reduces your risk to certain conditions including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Used as Stabilizer
Basil seeds have a pectin-rich gum which can be used in the food industry to thicken and stabilize mixtures. The gum is flavorless making it ideal for food manufacturing. The seeds are so effective, for example, it can stabilize ice cream by 30 to 40 percent and prevent the growth of unwanted ice crystals compared to the standard ice cream formulations. In addition to that, the seed gum can stabilize salad dressing, low fat whipped cream, and jellies and also serve as a fat replacement in yogurt and mayonnaise. You can use the gum at home to thicken recipes like soups, desserts, and sauces.
Controls Blood Sugar
Basil seeds have an active ingredient called dietary fiber which helps to control blood sugar levels. It’s very useful for people with type 2 diabetes since the inability to control insulin and glucose levels can lead to death. Taking a glass of water with basil seeds in the morning can help improve your insulin sensitivity throughout the day. However, this isn’t a replacement for diabetes treatment.
People suffering from arthritis, gout, headaches and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), are recommended to take basil seeds as they can reduce the severity of these conditions and relieve pain quickly. Also, the seeds prevent the release of pro-inflammatory compounds which causes several health issues. According to a publication in the Journal of Bone Reports & Recommendations, beta-caryophyllene, a compound present in basil seeds, has a prominent anti-arthritis activity due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Packed with Fiber
Basil seeds are rich in soluble fiber. These are very beneficial to the body in the following ways:
- Helps you achieve your fiber quota because one teaspoon of basil seeds (0.5 ounces) supplies your body with seven grams of fiber. Studies show that only five percent of Americans eat enough fiber.
- Helps support gut growth by increasing the beneficial gut bacteria.
- Makes you feel full which can potentially help with weight loss.
- Lowers cholesterol levels by preventing the absorption of bad fat to your gut. Eating 30g of basil seeds daily for one month can lower your total cholesterol by eight percent.
Good for Healthy Skin
Crashing the seeds and then applying the oil on the affected area can help treat various skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Crush the seeds without soaking them, then mix with a cup of coconut oil and warm the mixture before using. Furthermore, eating basil seeds regularly helps your body to secrete collagen which is important for new skin formation as well as repair damaged skin.
Act as Coolant
During summer, basil seeds can be added to drinks to increase the coolant effect. Also, they help reduce body heat by lowering your temperature. Their coolant property helps to soak up your body heat thus bringing a relaxing effect.
Adding basil seeds to your diet helps your body obtain necessary nutrients for proper functioning. Especially athletes, basil seeds provide them with beneficial carbs and an excellent source of hydration. Note that basil seeds should be soaked in water first before consumption. They absorb water rapidly and swells evenly in the mouth. If consumed dry, they might swell in your throat thus choking you. For pregnant women, try and avoid basil seeds due to their potential impact on hormone levels in the body. Also, anyone with hormonal imbalances or thyroid issues should talk to their doctor before using these seeds.
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