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Pesto
 
Serves 8
 
 

An array of flavonoids exist in basil, which help to protect cells and chromosomes from damage. Studies have shown that two of these flavonoids in particular,orientin and vicenin, are useful in protecting cell structures and chromosomes from damage by radiation and oxygen. Eugenol, which is found in essential oil of basil, provides an anti-inflammatory effect, by blocking an enzyme called cyclooxygenase. Aspirin and Ibuprofen work by blocking this same enzyme. So,basil can have healing benefits, and provide relief from the symptoms of inflammatory problems, like rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel conditions. Basil is also a good source of Vitamin K, iron, calcium and Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to prevent damage to the cells by free radicals.

Pinenuts are an excellent resource for dietary fibre. Pine nuts are nature's only source of pinoleic acid, which stimulates hormones and helps diminish your appetite. Pine nuts have the highest concentration of oleic acid. That's a monounsaturated fat that aids the liver in eliminating harmful triglycerides from our body. That helps protect our heart. Because of their high content, they can go rancid quickly when you buythem already shelled. Their shelf life can be prolonged by refrigeration. Pine nuts are packed with 3mg of iron per one ounce serving. Iron is a key component of haemoglobin, the oxygen carrying pigment in blood that supplies energy. They are rich in magnesium which helps alleviate muscle cramps, tension and fatigue. More in "Is Your Food Killing You?"

Ingredients:

2 tbsp pine nuts, lightly roasted in a pan until light brown in colour

25 g basil leaves, washed and drained well

A handful of young spinach leaves, washed and drained well

8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Handful of grated Parmesan cheese (approx. 2 oz)

1 tsp lemon

Salt to taste

Method:

In a food processor add the basil leaves and pine nuts. Blend together until finely chopped. Add olive oil, parmesan cheese and lemon juice. Blend well. Season to taste.

This can be used as a vegetarian sauce for a delicious sauce for pasta. A good way of preserving home-made pesto is by freezing! Freezing the olive oil in pesto will not harm it; it will actually prolong its nutritional benefits and its flavour.