You will see bay leaves mentioned in many recipes, especially when you look at Mediterranean, especially Italian, cuisine. They add a lot of aroma and flavor to dishes, even though you do not eat them. While cooking, the aromas and properties are released into the dishes to help add taste just like any other herb or spice.
They can also be ground into a spice, so you can add them to your cooking and leave them there. However, they are most commonly used whole and removed before eating. The oils from the leaves can also be extracted for aromatherapy needs.
However, did you know there are more reasons to use bay leaves in your cooking than just for taste? There are some ways your health will benefit from the use of the leaves. You may be surprised to hear just how they can improve your health.
Bay leaves come from a variety of different plants, but the real leaf comes from the Laurus nobilis. All types of bay leaves are full of various nutrients, but those from Laurel trees have the most. They are found in the Mediterranean and have been used for medicine for centuries throughout the world, even during the Roman period.
Here’s a look at nine health benefits that are extremely surprising to many. Are you ready to make your health better than ever before?
They Support Your Digestive System
One of the most significant benefits of adding bay leaves to your body is for your digestive health. This is more than just helping to keep your digestive system working, which is something fiber can do. Bay leaves are a diuretic, meaning that they can stimulate urination and help to decrease the number of toxins that are in your body. The leaves help to encourage the body to release all the toxins through the urine, which helps with a weekly detox.
Another major digestive benefit is by helping to release toxins the opposite way. Bay leaves can encourage vomiting when something toxic or poisonous has been eaten. However, vomiting only happens due to toxicity in the body. In a healthy body, you will not feel the need to vomit after eating.
Like fiber, bay leaves can also help to keep the digestive system working. Some studies show the organic compounds can help to relieve upset stomachs, reducing the feeling of gas and discomfort after eating. Those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and even celiac disease can find that their symptoms are no longer as bad after eating a dish with bay leaves. You can also benefit from the use of essential oils with bay leaves to breathe in for reducing some digestive discomforts.
Bay leaves aid with the digestive process, making it easier for the body to break down some of the complex proteins and starchy carbs in the diet. They will also make it easier for the digestive system to absorb nutrients within the food, offering extra health throughout the body. When the digestive system works better, there isn’t as much inflammation, which helps to reduce bloating and pain after eating.
Help to Reduce Inflammation Throughout the Body
Inflammation is not only an issue within the digestive system. It is something that can affect the whole body.
The immune system has an inflammatory response to aid in healing. The problem is this inflammatory response can be kick-started for the wrong reasons. Some particles are wrongly presumed to be bad, so the immune system kicks in to get rid of them.
Eating bay leaves will help to release parthenolide, a phytonutrient that helps to reduce inflammation almost instantly. You do not just need to eat the bay leaves to get this phytonutrient. You can crush the leaves and gain the oils to help create a topical treatment. Topical treatments with bay leaves have been used for centuries to reduce inflammation around wounds and to ease the pain in joints due to arthritis.
Improve Your Respiratory Health
Breathing problems are becoming more and more apparent. More people who have asthma than ever before. Some of the issues are linked to viruses or bacteria, while others are linked to an overactive immune system or inflammation and fluid within the respiratory system.
Bay leaves can help to relieve respiratory conditions. In some cases, they offer relief from the symptoms, but in other cases, they can help to get rid of the conditions. They can help to improve breathing overnight to get a better night’s sleep, especially when breathing problems are linked to a temporary illness.
You will find bay leaves are packed with antioxidants to help fight off infections. They are also a natural antibiotic, helping to overcome many chest infections.
While you can gain benefits from eating bay leaves, one of the best options is to use them through aromatherapy. You can use a bay leaf essential oil in hot water or burn. Breathing in the steam will help to get deep into the lungs to clear out the infections directly. Another option is to create a poultice that is spread onto the chest (and other infected areas) to draw out toxins and alleviate conditions.
Studies have shown that using the oil directly on wounds can help to clear out the bacteria and avoid sepsis. It is possible to help increase the speed at which a wound heals.
You can leave the poultice on overnight on the chest to help improve breathing throughout the night. Wash it off the next morning.
Protect the Heart Health
While the lung and breathing health is protected, it is important to treat any heart conditions. You will always want to prevent some of the most life-threatening conditions.
Many types of foods will help to protect the heart. However, they tend to protect the arteries, which will, in turn, protect the heart. Bay leaves are slightly different. They help to strengthen the heart’s capillary walls. They instantly support and enhance the muscle that keeps your blood pumping.
This wall strengthening benefit is through a compound called rutin. It is released when you eat the bay leaf, or you can gain it through aromatherapy treatments.
Of course, bay leaves also help to reduce cholesterol levels to protect the arteries. This is another organic compound called caffeic acid. Rather than increasing the amount of good cholesterol in the body, like most other ingredients, the caffeic acid helps to get rid of the bad cholesterol. It is the bad that is most problematic for the heart health, so you want to get rid of it as much as possible.
Can Help to Prevent Yeast Growth
You may have heard of a fungus called Candida. This is one of the most common types of fungi within the body. It is the cause of many fungal conditions, including vaginal thrush. If you want to avoid health problems, you want to keep the fungus at bay.
The problem is that the fungus can easily grow in the digestive tract. It isa yeast that can cause a variety of health upsets and discomforts. You can only get rid of Candida with the right diet. Bay leaves are just what you need.
Studies have shown that bay leaves have antifungal properties. Using bay leaf essential oil is the best, but you can also gain the properties through eating the ingredient or adding bay leaves to your dishes while cooking to release the oils.
The studies show that bay leaves can disrupt Candida adhesions within the walls of the cells. It is harder for the fungus to get through the membrane of the cells, so it cannot affect (or infect) the body.
Bay Leaves May Prevent Cancer
When you look at a lot of healthy foods, you will see cancer prevention on the list. There is a big reason for this: antioxidants. The same applies to bay leaves, but there are other reasons for cancer prevention in this ingredient.
The antioxidants are certainly beneficial. When the body is packed with antioxidants, it will find it easier to fight against the growth of free radicals within the body. Free radicals affect the growth of new cells and can disrupt damaged cells to create strange ones. These free radicals are also linked to dementia and aging, so eating more bay leaves can prevent or slow them down.
However, it is not just the antioxidants that help to prevent cancer in bay leaves. They are also full of many other organic compounds, including phytonutrients, parthenolide, and linalool. They also fight against the growth of free radicals in the body. When everything works together, the free radicals do not stand a chance in the body.
Studies have also shown that bay leaves may help to treat cancer. The nutrients within bay leaves have shown that they can repair and remove cancerous cells. However, medical treatments are still encouraged, but bay leaves can be used alongside them. So far, the studies show most effectiveness in colon cancer patients, especially when the cancer is in the earlier stages.
Possible Help to Manage Your Diabetes
If you have diabetes, you will look for foods and ingredients that will help to manage your condition. This is especially the case if you have Type I diabetes, which can be the hardest to manage. The good news is bay leaves have shown positive results in studies.
One of the biggest benefits of bay leaves is the ability to help regulate the blood sugar levels. They help to encourage the slower breakdown of food, meaning not as many sugars are released into the bloodstream. There’s no need to release as much insulin into the body. When insulin is needed, bay leaves have shown improved receptor function.
Studies show that by using ground bay leaf twice a day can reduce your blood sugars. Thisis not just good for those managing their diabetes, but those trying to prevent it. Adding ground bay leaves to your recipes is extremely easy. This study did involve the use of regular diabetes medication to help manage the condition.
Some studies have shown that regular use of bay leaves can help to prevent and reduce symptoms of Type II diabetes. In fact, it is possible to eliminate the condition. In one study, patients took bay leaf capsules over 30 days and showed that their serum glucose levels changed. Those who had the placebo capsules showed no improvement, suggesting that bay leaves are certainly beneficial.
Improve the Look of Your Hair and Skin
If you suffer from dandruff or dry skin, you will want to consider the use of bay leaves more frequently. Don’t just eat the herb, but apply it topically to your skin and hair. You can just add some bay leaves to water to soak and then rub them directly onto the affected areas.
The chemicals and nutrients within the bay leaves are released. They are then absorbed into the layers of the skin and the hair follicles, helping to eliminate dry skin and hair conditions. You will want to wash your skin and hair first, allowing the skin a chance to absorb the nutrients throughout the day.
Topical treatments with essential oil have also shown some benefits. You can add drops to your bath water to help treat excessive dry skin conditions.
If you suffer from wrinkles or must deal with many acne breakouts, you will always want to use bay leaves directly. Boil them in water and then add them to a bowl. With a towel over your head, inhale the steam and allow it to get straight into your pores. This will open your pores, remove all the impurities, and add some moisture to help reduce the signs of aging. The steam will also help to improve any breathing difficulties, as you inhale all the health benefits.
The antioxidants will also help to relieve the look of your skin. They will fight the free radicals to help support the growth of collagen and prevent some signs of aging occur.
Reduce Stress, Anxiety, and Other Mental Health Conditions
Finally, bay leaves will not just help your physical health. There are plenty of studies that show the properties help to support the mental health. Stress and anxiety are the most common health problems treated, but bay leaves may be able to help others. You can also mix your bay leaves with some basil and thyme for extra benefits.
Bay leaves are packed with linalool, which has shown the ability to lower the number of stress hormones within the body. When the stress hormones are out of sync, you will feel more worried and anxious. Stress raises the blood pressure and puts much weight on the heart.
Use the bay leaves through aromatherapy practices for the best results. However, eating them will also help to release the nutrient within the body.
It is time to add more bay leaves to your diet. They aid your health in multiple ways, whether you are looking for a wound treatment, help to relieve breathing difficulties, or want to treat your stress problems. On top of that, they taste great and add much flavor to your dishes. You will not regret buying them, whether you get the leaves, ground leaves, or use an essential oil.