Health Benefits of Bay Leaf
Bay leaf is an aromatic leaf, which is extensively used in cuisines around the world. Dried bay leaves are commonly used, as they have strong aroma and flavor. Bay leaves are used in the preparation of hot curries, meats, stews, broths and soups. Bay leaf also has medicinal properties. It is used to treat common cold as its strong pungent aroma and bitter taste provide a soothing effect. So, let’s have a look at the nutritional and health benefits of bay leaves.
Nutritional Benefits of Bay leaf
Bay leaf provides around 320 calories for 100 gram of its consumption. It is rich in carbohydrate and dietary fibre. Saturated fats, pufa and mufa are also present in it. It also contains vitamins namely Vitamin-A, Vitamin-B, Vitamin-C and Vitamin-D. Calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium are the few minerals found in bay leaves.
Bay Leaf aids Digestion
Bay leaf has strong pungent smell which stimulates the production of saliva and other digestive enzymes. These enzymes aid in the breakdown of food particles, thus promoting healthy digestion. Bay leaf is known to be helpful against heartburn and bloating. Bay leaf tea is often recommended to prevent constipation. Bowel movement efficiency can be achieved by its consumption.
Bay Leaves can combat Cancer
Anti-cancerous compounds like caffeic acid, quercetin, euganol and catechins are present in bay leaf. These compounds restrict the metabolism of carcinogenic cells. Bay leaves are known to be helpful against leukaemia and breast cancer. Parthenolide is a phytonutrient present in bay leaf, which aids in restricting the growth of cervical cancer cells.
Bay Leaf fights Respiratory Problems
Bay leaf tea is recommended during fever and flu. It helps in relieving congestion and makes the air tracts clean. Bay leaves have anti-bacterial properties thus aiding in fighting the flu-causing bacteria.
Bay Leaf is Heart Friendly
Bay leaf itself contains zero cholesterol. It is even rich in heart friendly compounds like rutin, salicylates, caffeic acid and phytonutrients. They help in reducing the chances of coronary heart diseases. They help in improving the heart health and make it active. Bay leaves are even rich in mono unsaturated fatty acids. Mufa aids in increasing HDL cholesterol and reduces LDL cholesterol. Stress, anxiety and blood pressure is also reduced by its intake.
Bay Leaves for Diabetics
Bay leaves are helpful in combating type-2 diabetes. They increase the production of insulin and thus monitor the level of glucose in the body.
Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Bay Leaves
Parthenolide in bay leaf is an anti-inflammatory compound. The oil extracted from it can be used to relieve migraines, strains and arthritis. Pain and swelling can also be reduced by applying its extracted oil.
Bay Leaf nourishes Skin
Bay leaf contains a range of antioxidants and antiseptic compounds like α-pinene, β-pinene, myrcene, limonene, linalool, methyl chavicol, neral, α-terpineol, gernyl acetate p-cymene, euganol and chavicol. These have been found to be beneficial for skin. Bay leaf is also rich in Vitamin-C, which helps in preventing free radical damages.
Other Health Benefits of Bay Leaves
- Bay leaf is rich in folic acid. It aids in synthesising DNA and also prevents neural tube defects in infants. It is recommended for pregnant women.
- Raw bay leaf can be consumed to maintain regular menstruation.
- Kidney stones and infections can be reduced by consuming boiled bay leaf water.
- Bay leaf contains lauric acid. It is anti-infectant. Crushed leaves can be applied on stings and bites to attain speedy recovery.
- Bay leaf has anti-bacterial properties and acts as a cleansing agent. It can be used to obtain healthy oral hygiene. Crush dry leaves and brush to achieve healthy teeth.
- Bay leaf is rich in minerals. Potassium aids in controlling the blood pressure. Copper and magnesium acts as co-factors for various enzymes.