Cilantro is an herb with wide delicate lacy green leaves and a pungent flavor. The seed of the cilantro plant is known as coriander. Although cilantro and coriander come from the same plant, their flavors are very different and cannot be substituted for each other.
Coriander is commonly used in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Indian, South Asian, Mexican, Latin American, Chinese, African and Southeast Asian cuisine. The herb carries many notable plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health-promoting properties.
Health benefits of cilantro leaves
- Cilantro herb is very low in calories and contains no cholesterol. However, its deep-green leaves possess good amounts of antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins, and dietary fiber, which may help reduce LDL or “bad cholesterol” levels in the blood.
- Its leaves and seeds contain many essential volatile oils such as borneol, linalool, cineole, cymene, terpineol, dipentene, phellandrene, pinene, and terpinolene.
- The leaves and stem tips are also rich in numerous anti-oxidant polyphenolic flavonoids such as quercetin, kaempferol, rhamnetin, and epigenin.
- The herb is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Iron is essential for red blood cell production. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
- It is also rich in many vital vitamins, including folic-acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-A, beta carotene, vitamin-C, which are essential for optimum health. Vitamin-C is a powerful natural antioxidant. 100 g of cilantro leaves provide 30% of daily recommended levels of vitamin-C.
- It provides 6748 IU of vitamin-A per 100 g, about 225% of recommended daily intake. Vitamin-A, an important fat soluble vitamin and anti-oxidant, is also required for maintaining healthy skin and is also essential for vision. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin-A and flavonoids (carotenes) may help protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- Cilantro is one of the richest herbal sources for vitamin K; provide about 258% of DRI. Vitamin-K has a potential role in bone mass building. It also has established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.
Cilantro provide only 23 calories/100g, but their phyto-nutrients profile is no less than any superfoods around us!
See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:
Cilantro, Nutrient value per 100g
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Now that you know the health benefits of this superherb, how can we eat more of it other than garnish. I got your back. Try this Simple Cilantro Salad you can eat over and over again.
Simple Cilantro Salad
4 cups of baby arugula
½ cup of cilantro, rough chopped
½ of a red bell pepper, sliced
1 cup of sliced Persian cucumbers
3 tablespoons of sunflower seeds
1 avocado, sliced
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
4 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of raw honey
1 tablespoon of chopped shallot
sea salt and pepper to taste
Combine dressing ingredients in the bottom of a mixing bowl and whisk well. Add arugula, and mix with hands until well incorporated. Transfer arugula to a serving dish and top with cilantro, bell pepper, cucumbers, sunflower seeds and avocado.
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