Basil in a Gout Diet
Basil which in Latin is called Ocimim basilicum (Sweet Basil) is very familiar to most people and us Greeks use it often in our dishes. The name “basil” comes from the old Greek word basilikohn, which means “royal,” demonstrating the ancient Greeks attitudes towards an herb that they held to be very noble and sacred. Basil grows in many parts throughout the world, but it was first native to India, Asia and Africa. Nowadays it is a traditional herb of Italian, Mediterranean and Thai cooking.
It is widely used as a culinary herb for seasoning in many cultures usually as dried leaves, as a paste in oil or simply fresh. The flavor tends to increase when cooked. The basil plant looks a lot like peppermint to which it is related. There are more than 60 varieties of basil, many of which differ somewhat in appearance and taste. More than that basil is also considered as a medicinal herb since it is high in vitamins K, A (in the form of carotenoids such as beta-carotene) and vitamin C, manganese, copper, iron and calcium.
How Basil Fights Inflammation
Basil is widely used as an anti-depressant to treat depression since it has many uplifting properties and is also used to overcome jet lag, treat coughs, bronchitis, hiccups, diarrhea, fever, intestinal parasites, bad breath, acne but what gout sufferers want know is how can basil help them? Basil is known to stimulate our kidneys and helps lower uric acid levels in your blood helping gout and arthritis sufferers. How you ask? Well, basil’s volatile oils have been the subject of extensive study, particularly the eugenol component. Since this component works by blocking the activity of a certain enzyme in the body we gout sufferers are familiar with called cyclooxygenase (COX). NSAIDs, ibuprofen and acetaminophen work the same way by inhibiting this same enzyme.
The eugenol in basil qualifies basil as an anti-inflammatory food that can provide you not only with health benefits by lowering uric acid in your body but also to treat symptoms of a gout attack and rheumatoid arthritis. If you suffer from gout and are diabetic it also helps lower your blood sugar level. In addition, basil contains large quantities of E-Beta-CaryoPhyllene (BCP) which may be useful in treating gout and arthritis. It is effective in blocking the signals that lead to inflammation associated with gout and arthritis.
I personally add it in my whole wheat pasta. Remember basil gas a natural affinity with tomato since it is an assertive flavor that goes well with other assertive flavors like sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil and roasted peppers which I also add in my pasta dishes. Basil seeds can also be added to meals and salads. It is also the main ingredient in pesto sauce which you can mix with your whole wheat pasta dishes.
Finally, I also like to create a basil vinaigrette mixed with olive oil, garlic, vinegar and some sea salt, then add it on top of my grilled meats, fish and salads. You can also make a tea by boiling basil leaves in 1-2 cups of water. Cool the mixture and filter out the leaves then you can drink this tea for decreasing the symptoms of gout.
Posted by Spiro Koulouris