What has five Foundation Supplements, bone-healthy antioxidants, smells and tastes delicious, is alkalizing, and you can grow it in a small pot? If you guessed basil, you're spot on!
I use fresh basil in as many dishes as possible and in salads as well – it’s a great way to “dress up” almost any dish. And if you’ve only used dried basil, you’re in for a treat! Fresh basil is a lot tastier and richer in nutrients than dried basil. That's why I grow it myself in a pot right on my patio.
I'll soon give you simple instructions, so you can do it yourself too. It’s so easy that you’ll always want to have a fresh supply of basil on hand.
Basil, the King of Herbs
Basil is native to India and Iran and has been cultivated for more than 5,000 years. The word basil comes from the Greek work basilikohn, which means king or royal. Basil was indeed considered a sacred herb in India; it was often planted around temples and “holy basil” is still featured in many Indian wedding and funeral ceremonies.
Basil is actually related to peppermint, and the plants have a similar appearance.
Full of Bone Healthy Nutrients
As mentioned earlier, basil is rich in bone healthy Foundation Supplements:
- Vitamin K – Basil is an excellent source of this important nutrient; just two teaspoons of chopped basil provide 60 percent of your daily requirement. Vitamin K is related to osteocalcin or bone Gla protein, a calcium binding protein that is synthesized by osteoblasts. It also works synergistically with vitamin D to regulate the production of osteoclasts, cells that remove old bone so that new bone can be deposited in its place.
- Calcium – Two teaspoons of chopped basil provide over 60 mg of calcium. For more information about this essential Foundation Supplement, check out my free Ultimate Calcium Guide.
- Manganese – A trace mineral necessary for the synthesis of connective tissue in cartilage and bone.
- Magnesium – A critical supplement that works in close synergy with calcium and is involved in over 300 essential body reactions.
- Vitamin C – A multi-tasking water-soluble vitamin/antioxidant that, among many other functions, is crucial for the production of collagen.
Basil is also a good source of potassium, an alkalizing mineral, and fiber. And its full of flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. The unique strain of flavonoids in basil has been shown to provide protection against unwanted bacterial growth.
And last but not least, basil contains a substance called eugenol that acts as a COX-inhibitor. Studies have found it to rival NSAIDS in terms of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Growing Your Own Basil
As I mentioned earlier, I have basil growing on my patio and just grab a few leaves whenever I want to add them to a recipe. So much better than dried herbs!
The easiest way to get started is to buy a small basil plant from any nursery or home improvement store. Then it’s just a matter of nurturing the plant and transferring it to a larger pot as it grows. Here are the important considerations:
- Basil likes sun, so find an area where your plant will get five or six hours of sunlight a day. If you’re keeping the plant indoors, place it on a windowsill or near a window and turn the plant regularly so that it gets exposed to sunlight evenly.
- Don’t over water. Use just enough water so that the soil feels moist – too much water can damage the roots.
- When your plant gets to be about six inches tall, pinch off the tips right above the leaves. This will encourage bushier growth.
- Remove buds before they flower; otherwise, they’ll turn to seed.
- Harvest single leaves rather than the paired ones.
- When your plant gets too large for its container, transfer it to a larger pot, making sure to good organic soil and, if necessary, some organic fertilizer.
- That’s about all you need to know! If you’re adventurous and want to try growing basil from seeds, you should be able to get advice at any nursery.
- And here’s a little secret and added benefit to growing basil in your patio or backyard: it’s an effective – and deliciously fragrant – natural mosquito repellent.
- Puree or chop fresh basil and freeze it in an ice cube tray. Then, whenever you want the goodness of fresh basil, just drop a cube or two into your recipe.
- If you buy fresh basil, make sure the leaves are a rich, deep green.
- To maintain its freshness, basil should be wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel and refrigerated.
- To maintain the maximum flavor and nutrition, add basil toward the end of the cooking process.
- For a healthy, dairy-free pesto, mix fresh chopped basil and minced garlic with olive oil. Absolutely yummy on pasta or salmon!
And for a refreshing summer treat, try my delicious and alkalizing Green Goddess Salad.
Green Goddess Salad
1 pound asparagus, steamed
11/2 cups tomatoes, cubed
1 ripe avocado, cubed
1 cup basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
Feta cheese, sprinkled sparingly (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1. In large bowl, mix all ingredients
2. Stir in olive oil and lemon juice
3. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper to taste
Enjoy in good health!