Alison is a registered dietitian, board-certified in oncology nutrition, and a cancer thriver. Her expertise in oncology nutrition and personal experience with her own cancer diagnosis and its treatment provide her with the unique perspective of being able to relate to her clients on an entirely different level. Her content is consistently focused on evidence-based guidelines and seeks to increase the awareness of the power of nutrition to complement traditional cancer therapies.
My favorite herb to use in the kitchen is fresh basil. No matter what variety, I love the crisp scent and lively flavor it adds to dishes.
But, it’s so much more than that.
Basil has been used for thousands of years for its health benefits, and for good reason. Basil contains a handful of phytochemicals including a carotenoid called beta-caryophyllene.
This particular phytochemical gives basil it’s anti-arthritic activity which may be attributed to its anti-inflammatory properties (1). As someone living with an autoimmune disease, I am all about anti-inflammatory properties!
Other standout phytochemicals found in basil can actually change gene expression, trigger cell death, and slow cell division (2). This is important when managing and preventing cancer.
To help us understand why these are good, I had Alison weigh in . . .
Isn’t Alison awesome at explaining all that stuff?
In the end, fresh basil is not only tasty, it’s also great for the management and prevention of cancer prevention and reducing inflammation.
Want an easy way to incorporate fresh basil into your next meal? Try our Green Goddess Dressing (recipe below). It can be used on a salad, or even a big bowl full of vegetables and whole grains. Or try our Corn Pesto Pizza!
Makes: 6, 2 tablespoon servings | Recipe adapted from: Forks Over Knives
⅔ cup raw, unsalted cashews (soaked)
⅓ cup fresh lemon juice (~ 1 ½ lemons)
¾ cup fresh basil (~ 1 ounce)
½ tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon salt
Begin by soaking the ⅔ cup raw cashews in warm water for at least 10 minutes.
Once soaked, drain the water the cashews were soaked in. To a food processor, add the soaked cashews, lemon juice, fresh basil, tahini, maple syrup, mustard, and garlic. Add salt to taste.
Depending your flavor, you can also add more tahini for a richer flavor. Or, if you would like a thinner consistency, add water or unsweetened non-dairy milk ½ to 1 tablespoon at a time until reaching desired consistency.
Drizzle over an abundance of greens or use as a sauce your favorite dish. Enjoy!