Basil is one of the commonest and most beneficial herbs known to mankind. It is pretty much a staple in Italian and South East Asian cuisines, and is used as a seasoning or flavoring in a number of dishes, ranging from bread based items to rice and pasta dishes. Basil is bestowed with many medicinal properties, which makes it a very good addition to food and beverages. Basil is known as being especially beneficial for treating coughs and colds.
There is, however, controversial opinion on whether this multipurpose herb can be consumed during the critical period of pregnancy. It is, of course, understood that foods that you could eat otherwise without a second thought can become quite dangerous during pregnancy, even foods that are considered otherwise healthy. In this article, we will discuss whether it is okay to eat basil while pregnant.
Yes, in moderation
The good news is, there is no reason why you should stop taking basil and other aromatic herbs simply because you are pregnant. Basil and such other herbs of its kind are rich in medicinal properties, and it is recommended that they be consumed during this very critical period. However, it ought to be kept in mind that these herbs should always be eaten as seasoning only, sprinkled on prepared foods and beverages. They should never be taken in large amounts or in concentrated forms as they contain high amounts of volatile oils, which can cause irritation in the uterus of pregnant women. Therefore, herbal supplements containing basil are also out of bounds for the pregnant woman.
Flushes out toxins
Basil, however, contains many properties that make it a very useful addition to the diet of the pregnant woman in moderate quantities. First of all, basil contains a lot of antioxidants; these help in flushing the body of toxins and boost the immune system. This is very beneficial for the pregnant woman since immunity is automatically compromised by the pregnancy. The good effects of the antioxidants also carry over to the baby, helping it develop a strong immune system while in the womb.
Contains folic acid
Basil contains one of the most important nutrients required by the pregnant woman and the baby: folic acid. Folic acid, or folates as they are also called, helps in ensuring that the nervous system of the baby develops well; this significantly lowers the chances of the baby developing neural tube and spinal cord defects.
Rich in nutrients
Basil is a very rich source of Vitamins A and C, along with a host of minerals such as potassium, manganese, zinc, iron, and phosphorus, among others. All these nutrients ensure that the baby develops well. The Vitamin A in basil ensures that the baby is born with a healthy and strong cardiovascular system, central nervous system, heart, lungs, and eyes, and the manganese ensures that the baby forms a strong bone structure, and the mother does not go through oxidative stress and suffers minimal cellular damage.
Also read: Can I eat pizza during pregnancy?
It is important to understand that like everything else, basil should also be taken with caution during pregnancy. Garnish and season your soups, stews, salads, and pasta with some basil, or make a healthy and soothing drink to keep yourself hydrated. Basil is a great addition to your pregnancy diet, but only as long as you are prudent with the amount.