The Basil leaf is one of the most popular herbs in the world. There are about 160 types but in this article, we are focusing on the Lemon Basil popularly called ‘Curry Leaf’ in Nigeria.
Commonly added to soups, sauces, and salads because of its aroma and flavour, the Basil leaf provides some macronutrients, such as calcium and vitamin K, as well as a range of antioxidants.
The leaf is also an excellent source of beta-carotene, vitamin K, magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, calcium, and vitamin C.
Here are 10 reasons to add it to your diet.
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1. Improves digestion
Consumption of Curry leaf helps improve digestion and immunity by helping healthy bacteria flourish within the gut, while also decreasing harmful bacteria that can cause disease.
It also balances the acid within the body and restore the body’s proper pH level.
It has also been used to help reduce bloating and water retention, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, acid reflux, and stomach worms or parasites.
2. Contains antioxidants
Curry leaf contains a range of natural antioxidants, orientin and viceninare which help protect body tissues against free radical damage, protect white blood cells responsible for immune function, as well as cellular structures where DNA is stored and delay the effects of skin aging.
3. Fights depression
Curry leaf helps improve mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
It is believed to stimulate neurotransmitters that regulate the hormones responsible for inducing happiness and energy.
It is also considered a powerful adaptogen or an anti-stress agent as its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties help manage stress too.
4. Supports liver function
The strong detox properties in curry leaf may do wonders for your liver health preventing fat build-up in the liver thereby keeping your liver healthy.
5. Controls diabetes
Curry leaf helps to lower the blood sugar levels by affecting the insulin activity of the body. The fiber content of the leaf also plays a significant role in the lowering of blood sugar levels.
The essential oil present in the leaf also helps cut down triglyceride and cholesterol levels, which is a persistent risk factor amongst diabetics.
6. Fights cancer
Studies show that the contains phytochemicals, which can help naturally prevent cancer, including chemical-induced skin, liver, oral, and lung cancers.
It is able to increase antioxidant activity, induce cancerous-cell apoptosis (death of harmful cells), and stop cancerous tumors from spreading.
7. Acts as a skin cleanser
The leaf’s powerful oil helps cleanse the skin from within by removing dirt and impurities that clog pores. Make a paste of basil leaves, sandalwood paste, and rose water. Apply the paste on your face and let it sit for 20 minutes. Wash it off with cold water.
The strong anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of basil would help prevent the formation of acne.
8.Reduces the risk of heart diseases
An increase in cholesterol or blood pressure levels may lead to severe heart conditions. Curry leaf reduces the risk of bad cholesterol levels, which may lead to heart failure. It also helps the muscles that control blood vessel function to contract and relax, promoting healthy blood pressure.
9.Fights viruses and infections
The essential oils of the leaf have been found to exhibit anti-microbial activity against a wide range of bacteria, yeasts, molds, and viruses. This means you can add protection against the candida virus and various forms of skin irritations to the long list of proven benefits of basil.
10. Protects against skin aging
According to research published in 2011, the properties that might help protect the skin from some effects of aging.
In the study, the scientists applied a basil extract to laboratory models of skin. The results suggested that including basil extracts in topical skin creams might improve skin hydration and reduce roughness and wrinkling.
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