Cilantro, also known as coriander leaves, is a popular herb used all over the world that resembles flat-leaf parsley. It is commonly used in Mexican, Asian, and Middle Eastern cuisines, as well as in other cuisines around the world.
The leaves and stems of the Coriandrum sativum plant are known as cilantro in the United States, while the seeds are known as coriander. Apart from its slightly citrusy, peppery flavor, cilantro is added to dishes for its potential health benefits.
Stick to the end of the article to learn some benefits of cilantro, as well as how to eat it and why some people can’t stand the taste.
A. Health Benefits of Cilantro
Cilantro, also known as coriander, is a culinary herb that is also used in alternative medicine. Nutritionally, the herb is a good source of lipids and contains the essential oil linalool. The herb has traditionally been used for its anti-epileptic, anti-depressant, and anti-inflammatory properties. So as you can guess, the benefits of cilantro are numerous.
Cooking with cilantro has been shown in studies to reduce the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which are formed when meat is cooked at high temperatures. High levels of HCA consumption have been linked to an increased risk of cancer.
Cilantro, like many culinary herbs, has been used medicinally since antiquity. Some of the health benefits of cilantro attributed to this plant are being supported by modern research methods.
Some of the health benefits of cilantro may include:
1. Mental Fitness: Prevents Inflammation of the Nervous System
Chronic inflammation is linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis.
Diets high in turmeric, pepper, clove, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, and coriander, according to a study published in Molecular Neurobiology, may help prevent the inflammation associated with these deadly diseases.
The researchers also discovered that people who ate a diet high in these herbs and spices had a lower risk of neurological degeneration. In another study, scientists observed improvements in laboratory mice’s memory after adding fresh cilantro leaves to their diets.
2. Managing Anxiety
Extracts from the cilantro plant are nearly as effective as medication in reducing anxiety symptoms in animal studies. Human subjects are still required in future research.
3. Management of Blood Sugars
Cilantro has the ability to lower blood sugar, so people with low blood sugar or who are taking diabetes medications are advised to avoid it.
Coriander seeds reduce blood sugar levels in animals by stimulating an enzyme that removes sugar from the blood.
In another study, rats with obesity and high blood sugar had their blood sugar levels reduced by using cilantro extract. Glibenclamide, a blood sugar medication, had similar effects.
4. Prevents colon cancer
Coriander may help protect against colon cancer by lowering cholesterol levels and increasing the excretion of sterol compounds and bile, according to some promising animal research. This process lowers the risk of cancer by lowering toxic levels in the colon
5. Anti-inflammatory Properties
According to research, cilantro has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Cilantro has been found in the Sri Lankan Maharasnadhi Quather’s production as an anti-inflammatory agent (MRQ).
MRQ’s main ingredient is cilantro seed, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties in human and animal studies.
In rats, it was discovered that consuming MRQ increased their pain threshold by more than 50%. Human studies have shown that prescribing MRQ to people with rheumatoid arthritis reduces inflammation and pain, improves mobility, and has no negative effects on gastrointestinal or liver functions.
6. Foodborne Illnesses Can Be Prevented
Antimicrobial properties of cilantro have been discovered in animal studies looking into the health benefits of cilantro.
Dodecenal, an antimicrobial compound found in cilantro, may help protect your body from infections and illnesses caused by tainted food. Salmonella, a microbe that can cause life-threatening food poisoning, is resistant to the compound.
In another study, compounds in cilantro were found to be effective against a variety of bacteria, including those that cause foodborne illness and hospital-acquired infections.
7. Menstrual Function Is Aided
Coriander seed from cilantro promotes healthy menstrual function by regulating the function of the endocrine glands and the hormones that control menstrual cycles.
Coriander is also thought to aid in the reduction of bloating, cramps, and pain associated with the menstrual cycle.
8. Cardiovascular health
Parts of the coriander plant (including cilantro leaves) have long been used in traditional medicine to treat pain, inflammation, gastrointestinal issues, and diabetes.
While most of the plant’s medicinal properties have yet to be investigated, a review published in Molecules in 2022 found that the herb may have cardiovascular benefits, such as blood pressure and heart rhythm regulation. This, according to the researchers, is due to cilantro’s high antioxidant content.
Only two of the 18 studies examined in the review were conducted in humans. As a result, don’t expect eating cilantro to alleviate any cardiovascular problems; more research is needed.
9. Antioxidant Effects
Cilantro belongs to the Umbelliferae family of plants, which also includes carrots. Carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lutein, which are found in cilantro and other Umbelliferae family members, are known for their antioxidant properties. Antioxidants work to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals released during oxidation.
There is a link between antioxidant activity and the phenolic content of cilantro extracts, according to research. Furthermore, when compared to the seeds, the herb’s leaves had higher antioxidant activity. Increased dietary consumption of cilantro, based on this, could act as a barrier against unwanted oxidation.
Carotenoids have been shown in other studies to reduce the risk of developing a variety of conditions, including eye disease and certain cancers.
10. Nutritional Benefits of Cilantro
Fresh coriander leaves have about 6% carbohydrates, 3% protein, and trace amounts of iron, vitamin C, vitamin B2, and vitamin A. A quarter cup of the herb contains 5% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A and 2% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C.
Cilantro leaves also contain folate, potassium, and manganese, in addition to vitamins A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K. However, it is rarely consumed in sufficient quantities to provide these nutrients.
1 tbsp cilantro has the following nutrients:
- There are no calories
- 0 g cellulose
- 0 grams of fat
- Sodium Content: 0 g
- 0 grams of cholesterol
So, here ends the list of Benefits of cilantro. Now, let’s look at the drawbacks of cilantro.
B. What to Be Wary Of
People who have low blood sugar should limit their intake of cilantro and coriander. Because the plant contains enzymes that can lower blood sugar levels, it should be consumed in moderation if you are predisposed to hypoglycemia.
C. Potential drawbacks of cilantro
Though there are numerous benefits of Cilantro but in terms of nutrition, cilantro has a few drawbacks. Some people, on the other hand, may wish to stay away from cilantro.
Up to 14% of the population, for example, carries a genetic variant that makes them extremely sensitive to the odor of aldehydes, a compound found in cilantro. Due to the close relationship between smell and taste, the fresh, citrus-like herb may instead taste like soap or dirt.
Furthermore, because cilantro is frequently consumed raw, it may contain bacteria that would otherwise be killed by cooking.
Between 1998 and 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention received reports of at least 20 cilantro-related foodborne outbreaks.
According to Colorado State University’s Food Source Information website, this resulted in 659 illnesses and 67 hospitalizations.
If you are at a higher risk of developing a more serious illness as a result of foodborne bacteria, such as if you are pregnant, over the age of 65, or have a pre-existing medical condition, you should consult your healthcare provider about whether you should only consume cooked cilantro.
According to the Natural Remedies Comprehensive Databases, the herb can also have negative interactions with certain medications or other herbs. As a result, before consuming cilantro, consult a physician.
D. How to eat cilantro?
Apart from the benefits of cilantro, it is also important to know how to eat it. Fresh cilantro is frequently combined with lime as an ingredient in curries, soups, and Asian dishes. Although both the leaves and the stems are edible, the stems have a slightly bitter taste.
Many people prefer to remove the plant’s leaves before using them in recipes or to chop and use the stems sparingly.
Try incorporating cilantro into your favorite recipes in the following ways:
- To add a fresh herbs flavor to Mexican dishes and salsas, sprinkle chopped cilantro on top.
- Wrap whole sprigs of cilantro with cooked pork, cucumber, carrot, and vermicelli noodles to make a spring roll.
- To make a delicious seasoning for grilled fish, combine cilantro and lime.
- Chop the cilantro and combine it with the cooked rice, butter, and lime zest.
- To make a filling soup, puree cilantro with roasted carrots, onion, and garlic.
Garnishing dishes with raw cilantro may be a good way to easily boost your antioxidant and vitamin intake. It goes well with guacamole, salads, beans, stir-fries, soups, fish, curries, and other dishes.
Even if you don’t care for plain, raw cilantro, you can find recipes for pesto, from salsa to soup to meat or vegan curry, chutney, and even cocktails using this herb online.
We hope that this article cleared all your questions about the benefits of Cilantro.
Please share your thoughts, and suggestions about the benefits of cilantro in the comment section.
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Marilyn Rose A. Lacorte, RN (Medical Professional, Proofreading)
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