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Health & Nutrition
• Articles
• Nutritional Information of Alce Nero Products
- Organic pasta
- Organic tomato puree & sauce
- Organic pesto
- Organic condiments
- Organic jam
- Organic honey
Basil, the King of Herbs
Basil leaves are round, often pointed, and green in color. There are more than 60 varieties of the plant, all of which differ somewhat in appearance and taste.

The name "basil" is derived from an old Greek word which means "royal," reflecting the fact that ancient cultures held the herb to be very noble and sacred. In India, basil was cherished as an icon of hospitality, whilst in Italy it was a symbol of love.

Today, basil is mostly known for its highly fragrant leaves, which are used as a seasoning herb for a variety of foods and have become increasingly popular as the main ingredient in pesto.

Basil now grows in many regions throughout the world, but it was first native to India, Asia and Africa. It is prominently featured in varied cuisines throughout the world including Italian, Thai, Vietnamese and Laotian.

Read on to find out how this plant will not only enhance the flavor of your food, but also provide you and your loved ones with essential health benefits.

Nutritional contribution & health benefits of basil

Basil is an excellent source of vitamin K and a very good source of iron, calcium and vitamin A. In addition, basil is a good source of dietary fiber, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium.
Furthermore, it is not a common allergenic food and provides numerous health benefits. Research studies on basil have shown
unique health-protecting effects in two key areas: basil's flavonoids and volatile oils.

DNA Protection

The flavonoids found in basil provide protection at the cellular level. These components protect cell structures as well as chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage.

Anti-Bacterial Properties

Lab studies provide evidence that the volatile oils in basil have been shown to provide protection against unwanted growth of numerous bacteria.* Scientists are using this research to try to develop natural food preservatives.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

The enzyme-inhibiting effect of the eugenol in basil qualifies it as an "anti-inflammatory" food that can provide important
healing benefits along with symptomatic relief for individuals with inflammatory health problems.

Cardiovascular Health Benefits

Basil is a very good source of vitamin A and carotenoids such as beta-carotene, a very powerful anti-oxidant. Beta-carotene helps protect from free radical damage, and prevent strokes caused by oxidized cholesterol in the blood stream. Free radical damage is a contributing factor in many other conditions as well, including asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. The beta-carotene found in basil may help to lessen the progression of these conditions while protecting cells from further damage.

Basil is also a good source of magnesium, which promotes cardiovascular health by prompting muscles and blood vessels to relax, thus improving blood flow and lessening the risk of irregular heart rhythms or a spasms of the heart muscle or a blood vessel.

* July 2003 issue of the Journal of Microbiology Methods
Source: http://www.basilbasics.com

Indulge in Basil with Alce Nero Organic Pesto (only available in Singapore)

Pesto is a simple but highly versatile mixture which can be used in many ways. Use it straight from the jar, either cold or warmed
up, to complement many dishes or snacks. For optimal taste, make sure you give it a stir, so that all the ingredients are thoroughly blended.

Toss it with your favorite pasta, on its own or with a little bit of cream for a simple but delicious dish.

Spread it on bread on its own, as a base for Italian bruscetta recipes, or even to add an extra kick to your sandwiches. Try grilling the bread & pesto combination for a few minutes before tasting for best flavor.

Drizzle it over any plain grilled meat, fish or vegetable. If the pesto is thick, try adding a little bit of olive oil to the mixture. Using it to marinade your raw ingredients is also another option.

Last but not least, mix it with other ingredients to concoct virtually any recipe; your imagination is the only limit! From luscious salad dressings to tasty stuffing, as part of a pizza base or made into a dip for your favorite hors d’oeuvres, the possibilities are endless.

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