Basil seeds have a long history of use in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, but their health effects have only been tested in a few studies. Here are 12 fascinating benefits and uses of basil seeds.
1. Good Source of Minerals
Calcium and magnesium are essential for your bone health and muscle function, while iron is vital for red blood cell production. Many people don’t get enough calcium and magnesium through their diet. Eating basil seeds could help you reach your daily needs of these nutrients. Basil seeds could be an important source of iron and calcium for people who don’t eat meat or dairy products.
2. Helps you meet your fiber quota
Just 1 tablespoon (13 grams or 0.5 ounces) of basil seeds supplies 7 grams of fiber — 25% of the RDI.
3. May support gut health
Test-tube studies suggest that pectin has prebiotic benefits, meaning it may nourish and increase beneficial gut bacteria. This may include anti-inflammatory bacteria that support gut health.
4. May help you feel full
Pectin may delay stomach emptying and increase hormone levels that promote a sense of fullness. Still, it’s uncertain whether eating basil seeds to curb appetite is an effective weight loss strategy.
5. May aid blood sugar control
When people with type 2 diabetes ate 10 grams (3/4 tablespoon) of basil seeds in water after each meal for a month, their post-meal blood sugar was 17% lower than at the start of the study.
6. May improve cholesterol
Pectin may lower blood cholesterol by inhibiting cholesterol absorption in your gut. People who ate 30 grams (7 teaspoons) of basil seeds daily for one month had an 8% drop in total cholesterol.
7. Rich in Plant Compounds
Basil seeds are rich in plant compounds, including flavonoids and other polyphenols. Flavonoids are antioxidants, meaning they protect your cells from damage by free radicals. These plant compounds also have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. Several observational studies link higher flavonoid intake to reduced heart disease risk.