12 Fascinating Benefits and Uses of Basil Seeds
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Basil seeds aren’t just for growing basil plants — you can also eat them.
They look similar to sesame seeds but are black. The type that you eat typically comes from sweet basil, Ocimum basilicum, which is the plant commonly used to season foods.
For this reason, the seeds are typically referred to as sweet basil seeds. They also go by many other names, including sabja and tukmaria seeds.
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.
Based on U.S. product nutrition labels, 1 tablespoon (13 grams or 0.5 ounces) of basil seeds supplies 15% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for calcium and 10% of the RDI for magnesium and iron.
Calcium and magnesium are essential for your bone health and muscle function, while iron is vital for red blood cell production ( 1 ).
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.
Additionally, basil seeds could be an important source of iron and calcium for people who don’t eat meat or dairy products ( 2 ).
Just 1 tablespoon (0.5 ounces or 13 grams) of basil seeds is a good source of iron, calcium, and magnesium — which could help fill important shortfalls in your diet.
Basil seeds are high in fiber, particularly soluble fiber, including pectin ( 3 , 4 ).
Here are some ways the fiber in basil seeds may benefit your health:
- 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. Only about 5% of Americans eat enough fiber ( 5 , 6 ).
- 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 ( 7 , 8 , 9 ).
- 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 ( 4 , 10 ).
- 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 ( 11 ).
- 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 ( 4 , 7 ).
Due to a lack of recent scientific research on basil seeds, more studies are needed to confirm these health benefits.
Basil seeds contain soluble fiber, which may promote gut health, blood sugar control, healthy cholesterol levels, and appetite control. However, more research in these areas is needed.
The fibrous, pectin-rich gum from basil seeds could be a valuable ingredient in the food industry, as it’s flavorless and can help thicken and stabilize mixtures ( 12 , 13 , 14 ).
For example, it can stabilize ice cream and reduce the growth of unwanted ice crystals by 30–40% compared to standard ice cream formulations ( 15 ).
Basil seed gum can also stabilize salad dressing, low-fat whipped cream, and jellies, as well as serve as a fat replacement in yogurt and mayonnaise ( 16 , 17).
Home cooks can also use these seeds to thicken recipes like desserts, soups, and sauces.
In the food industry, the pectin-rich gum from basil seeds can help thicken and stabilize food mixtures like salad dressings and ice cream. It can be used at home as well.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. ]]>