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Pesto can be used to liven up all sorts of different meals. It can be added to dips, it can be put on pizzas, spread on a sandwich, it can even be baked into bread. Not only does pesto add a delicious, unique flavor to a variety of meals, but it also provides us with many health benefits.

Pesto Health Benefits

Pesto is most often made with fresh basil leaves. Basil contains several flavonoids and other compounds that have been shown to provide a variety of health benefits. It also contains several healthy essential oils, including eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene and terpineol. These compounds are known to provide anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

The lemon juice used to liquefy it also provides us with an abundance of vitamin C and the other healthy nutrients found in citrus fruits. Aside from boosting the immune system, consumption of vitamin C has also been associated with increased energy and decreased body fat levels.

A primary ingredient of pesto is also olive oil, which is made up of healthy dietary fat. This, in combination with the essential fatty acids found in pine nuts, makes pesto great for reducing your appetite without adding too many calories to your diet. Pine nuts are also rich in a variety of vitamins including vitamin E and B6.

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Despite pesto itself being a healthy, fat-burning food product, most store-bought pesto is loaded with cholesterol, which is known to contribute to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. In order to retain the healthiness (and delicious taste) of pesto, the best option is to make it from scratch. The best part of this is that it is so surprisingly easy!

5 Minute Pesto Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of basil leaves
  • Juice from 1 squeezed lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

Throw all of the ingredients in a food processor and let it run for a minute or two, or until you think it is sufficiently pureed.

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And there you have it! A simple, fat-burning pesto sauce that takes less than five minutes to make. For more quick and easy healthy recipes, click here.

Sources:

http://www.yummly.com/recipe/external/5-Minute-Pesto-1190492

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/basil-herb.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2235484/Which-pesto-best-We-brands-test.html

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-04/foas-vcd040306.php

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pine-nuts.html

Image sources:

http://fitfoodiefinds.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/pesto4.jpg

http://fitfoodiefinds.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/pesto5.jpg

http://fitfoodiefinds.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/pesto6.jpg

http://coderedhat.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/pesto-recipe.jpg

http://damndelicious.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/IMG_3428edit.jpg

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