Cilantro, usually referred to as coriander leaves, is a vibrant green herb frequently used in cuisines worldwide. It is a common ingredient in many Middle Eastern, Asian, and Mexican dishes.
In addition to its somewhat spicy, citrus flavor, cilantro is often included in food because of its potential health benefits.
Here are the advantages of cilantro, how to prepare it, and why some people find the taste offensive.
Benefits of Cilantro
Despite the scarcity of studies on cilantro, some data points to a few potential health benefits.
A Good Source of Nutrients
Cilantro gives your food nutrients in addition to color and flavor. A golf ball-sized portion of raw cilantro leaves, or a quarter cup, contains 16% of the daily recommended intake for vitamin K. Bone health is supported by vitamin K.
Additionally, cilantro provides 5% and 2% of the daily recommended amounts of vitamins A and C, respectively. The immune system depends on those vitamins.
In addition to its vitamin content, cilantro has significant substances known as antioxidants, according to a review printed in the journal Molecules in 2022. Antioxidants are chemicals that may stop or stall some types of cellular deterioration.
Although there are many antioxidants in cilantro, polyphenols are essential. Why? Antioxidants called polyphenols may lessen inflammation. Polyphenols may stop cell deterioration that would otherwise hasten aging and raise the risk of chronic illnesses.
May Help Heart Health
Parts of the coriander plant, such as cilantro leaves, have long been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments, including pain, inflammation, and digestive issues.
While most of the plant’s therapeutic benefits are unknown, the 2022 Molecules review suggested that the herb may positively affect heart health. Because of its high antioxidant content, cilantro may be able to control blood pressure and heart rate.
Only two of the 18 studies evaluated in the review were conducted on humans. So don’t assume that chewing on cilantro would make your cardiac problems go away. There is still a lot of research to be done as of November 2023.
Potential Drawbacks of Cilantro
Cilantro has very few drawbacks, particularly in terms of nutrition. But some people might want to stay away from cilantro. For instance, a survey discovered that, depending on the demographic, 2% to 21% of people dislike cilantro.
Aldehydes, a chemical component found in cilantro, may cause a genetic variation or irreversible mutation to your DNA that could cause extreme sensitivity.
Genetic variation may cause the fresh, citrusy plant to taste soapy or dirty due to the intimate relationship between scent and taste.
Additionally, since cilantro is frequently consumed raw, it could contain bacteria that cooking wouldn’t have eliminated.
Consult with your doctor about whether you should cook cilantro if you’re more likely to have a more severe sickness from a contaminated bacterium. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnant women over 65 or with a health condition compromising their immune system are at a higher risk.
How to Eat Cilantro
Garnishing food with raw cilantro is a great way to increase your intake of antioxidants and vitamins. Sprinkle it on top for guacamole, salads, beans, stir-fries, soups, fish, curries, and other dishes.
Even if you’re not a massive lover of cilantro in its raw, unprocessed form, you can look up recipes online for pico de gallo, pesto, chutney, and cocktails that use this herb. Consider combining chopped cilantro and fresh lime with roasted corn. The secret is to enjoy yourself while exploring how cilantro can liven up a dish.
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