Bay leaf, scientifically known as Laurus nobilis, is a spice that is used primarily for food flavouring but crumbled bay leaves, in a dish, also offers various nutritional and health benefits.
Bay leaves are also known as तेज पत्ता (tej patta) in Hindi, ബേ ഇലകൾ (bē ilakaḷ) in Malayalam, வளைகுடா இலைகள் (Vaḷaikuṭā ilaikaḷ) in Tamil, ಕೊಲ್ಲಿ ಎಲೆಗಳು (Kolli elegaḷu) in Kannada. There are two chief varieties of bay leaves used for culinary. They are Turkish (or Mediterranean) bay leaves and California bay leaves.
Bay leaves are used either as fresh, whole, dried, or ground. Most chefs and cooks use dried leaves. The dried leaves have a slightly stronger scent than the fresh leaves. These are even burnt as burning bay leaves is also believed to have many benefits.
Usually, a single bay leaf is used for cooking and that too it is removed from the dish, before eating hence, it is not likely to provide significant micronutrients or macronutrients. In case, crumbled bay leaves are used in a dish then, few nutritional benefits can be obtained. The principal component of bay leaf is cineole.
100 grams of bay leaves contains 313 calories, kcal of energy, 8.4 gm of fats,75 gm of carbohydrates, 26 gm of fibre, 7.6 gm of proteins, 5.4 gm of water, 1.1 gm of omega-3 fatty acids, 1.2 gm of omega-6 fatty acids, 120 mg of magnesium, 113 mg of phosphorus, 47 mg of vitamin C, 23 mg of sodium, 43 mg of iron, 834 mg of calcium, 529 mg of potassium, 3.7 mg of zinc, 47 mg of vitamin C, 8.2 mg of manganese, 4i6 mcg of copper, 180 mcg of folate, 2.8 mcg of selenium, and 421 mcg of riboflavin.
Potential Health Benefits of Bay leaves…
1/5. Promotes heart health
1. The rutin and caffeic acid content of bay leaves help in promoting heart health.
2. Rutin strengthens the capillary walls in the heart and the body’s extremities.
3. Caffeic acid removes LDL or bad cholesterol from the cardiovascular system.
2/5. Prevents cancer
1. The antioxidants and organic compounds such as linalool, phytonutrients, parthenolide, and catechins aids in protecting the body from the effects of free radicals. Free radicals lead to the mutation of healthy cells into cancerous cells.
2. Cineole, the active ingredient of bay leaves suppresses the growth of leukemia cancer cell lines.
3. Bay leaf is effective in breast cancer as it is said to induce cell death in breast cancer cell lines.
3/5. Reduces anxiety and stress
Linalool present in tej patta helps decrease the level of stress hormones in the body. Bay leaves can also combat depression symptoms.
4/5. Fights fungal infections
1. The antifungal properties of bay leaf fight against fungal infections especially against Candida infection.
2. Bay leaf prevents the adhesion of Candida to the cell walls, thereby preventing its penetrating into the membrane.
5/5. Other possible benefits…
Saffron produces numerous health benefits, apart from the health benefits mentioned above, it also produces few more such as, improves digestion, treats respiratory conditions, promotes hair care, possesses anti-inflammatory properties, manages diabetes,treats menstrual problems, treats dandruff and hair loss, aids wound healing, improves skin health, acts as a natural wound healer, and protects the body from inflammation.
Crumbled bay leaves, in a dish, offers various nutritional and health benefits. Bay leaves are full of antioxidants, anti fungal and inflammatory properties.
How to use Bay Leaves?
Bay leaves are used in several different ways. Some of them are as follows:
- Used in pickling.
- Used to marinate fish and meat.
- Added to boiling water to cook seafood.
- Used as a spice and food flavouring agent.
- To flavour fish, soups, meat. sauces, stews, and confectionaries.
- Added to the cream mixture for rice pudding and in infusing the dessert, etc.
How to make Cinnamon Bay Leaf Tea?
Take 1 litre of water and add 4-5 dried bay leaves and 1 cinnamon stick. Simmer it for approximately 20 minutes.
In case you want a weaker brew then, chop up the fresh or dry leaves, pour hot water over it, and let it steep.
What are the side effects of Bay Leaves?
Experts opine that bay leaves should be consumed with care, despite its various benefits. Though there is lack of elaborate research on side-effects of bay leaf, some of the precautions which should be observed are…
1/4. These should be consumed in small quantities and for a short duration, because these leaves are not digestible and can cause harm to intestines. Further, bay leaves shall not be consumed through mouth as these might clog the mouth.
2/4. People having diabetes need to monitor their sugar levels regularly since bay leaves might interfere with the diabetic control medicine.
3/4. In case of a planned surgery, the consumption of bay leaves should be stopped at least 15 days before the date of surgery. This is because it slows down the central nervous system which might slow it down too much when anaesthesia is given.
4/4. The best way to take bay leaves tea is as a medicinal drink for short periods of time and not as regularly as we take normal tea.