Basil seeds are small black seeds that come from a type of basil plant. They have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, and are now gaining popularity as a superfood. Basil seeds have many health benefits, such as:
Improving digestive health. Basil seeds are rich in fiber, especially soluble fiber, which can help prevent constipation, reduce bloating, and promote a healthy gut flora. Soluble fiber also slows down the digestion of carbohydrates, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent spikes and crashes.
Aiding weight loss. Basil seeds can help you feel full for longer, as they absorb water and form a gel-like substance in your stomach. This can reduce your appetite and calorie intake, and help you lose weight. One study found that people who ate 10 grams of basil seeds after each meal for a month had a significant reduction in body weight, body mass index, and body fat percentage.
Enhancing skin and hair health. Basil seeds are a good source of antioxidants, which can protect your skin and hair from oxidative stress and damage. Antioxidants can also help prevent premature aging, wrinkles, and hair loss. Basil seeds also contain essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6, which can moisturize your skin and hair, and improve their elasticity and shine.
Cooling the body. Basil seeds have a cooling effect on the body, which can help reduce heat stress, fever, and inflammation. They can also soothe sore throat, cough, and cold symptoms. Basil seeds are often added to drinks, such as lemonade, milkshakes, and sherbets, to provide a refreshing and hydrating beverage.
Relieving stress and anxiety. Basil seeds have a calming effect on the nervous system, which can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. They can also improve your mood and mental clarity, and enhance your memory and concentration. Basil seeds are rich in magnesium, which is an important mineral for brain function and mood regulation.
Supporting bone health. Basil seeds are a good source of calcium, which is essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones. Calcium also helps prevent osteoporosis, a condition that causes bone loss and fractures. Basil seeds also contain iron, which is important for the production of red blood cells and the transport of oxygen to your tissues.
Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. Basil seeds can help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. They can do this by relaxing your blood vessels, inhibiting cholesterol absorption, and increasing the excretion of bile acids. Basil seeds also contain potassium, which is a key electrolyte for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart rhythm.
Basil seeds are easy to use and can be added to various dishes and drinks. You can soak them in water for about 15 minutes, or until they swell and form a gel. You can then mix them with yogurt, smoothies, salads, soups, desserts, or any other food you like. You can also eat them raw or dry, but they may have a slightly bitter taste.
Basil seeds are generally safe to consume, but they may have some side effects and interactions. Some of the possible side effects are:
Allergic reactions. Some people may be allergic to basil seeds or basil plants, and may experience symptoms such as itching, swelling, hives, or difficulty breathing. If you have any of these symptoms, stop eating basil seeds and seek medical attention immediately.
Choking hazard. Basil seeds can expand up to 20 times their original size when soaked in water, and may cause choking if swallowed without chewing or without enough liquid. To prevent this, always soak basil seeds before eating them, and drink plenty of water along with them.
Drug interactions. Basil seeds may interact with some medications, such as blood thinners, blood pressure drugs, diabetes drugs, and antidepressants. If you are taking any of these medications, consult your doctor before eating basil seeds, and monitor your blood sugar and blood pressure levels regularly.
Basil seeds are a nutritious and versatile food that can provide many health benefits. However, they are not a substitute for a balanced and healthy diet, and should be consumed in moderation and with caution. If you have any medical conditions or allergies, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before adding basil seeds to your diet.
Dr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam, MD, FRCP (London), FACP (USA)
Internal Medicine Specialist
Phone : 85000 23456