What Is Cilantro?
Ah, cilantro, which you may also know as coriander. On the outside, it’s just a green leafy plant people use to flavor their favorite foods, but on the inside, cilantro has a multitude of health benefits. It’s an herb similar to parsley that people love to put on just about everything. It packs a whole lot of flavor and it is rich in phytonutrients, flavonoids and phenolic compounds. Cilantro is also very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and is a great source for vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, and potassium.
It’s nearly nonexistent caloric value and insane amount of health benefits have helped the herb increase in popularity.
Cilantro Health Benefits
The popular herb used to add flavor is actually a great source of antioxidants like other fruits and vegetables. Using cilantro as flavoring can also help cut down on sodium intake. It contains chemicals that help food stay fresh longer as well as improve skin health and have anticancer effects. In fact, one-fourth of a cup of cilantro contains 5 percent of the daily value of vitamin A. However, there are many more health benefits to cilantro.
1. Removes Harmful Heavy Metals
Arsenic, cadmium, aluminum, lead, and mercury can become residents in our tissues leading to heart disease, hormonal imbalances, neurological conditions, infertility, and so much more. Heavy metals sneak their way into our bodies all the time, but they really only become harmful in large doses. Still, studies have shown that cilantro can bind these toxic metals together, loosening them from tissue, and facilitating their elimination from the body. Although it may not be as effective as high-quality detoxes, cilantro can help rid heavy metals from your body.
2. Supports Heart Health
Heart health is a growing concern for many. Cilantro shows the ability to help balance blood sugar levels, giving another good reason to add it to salads and smoothies. In one animal study, cilantro was shown to be effective for lowering blood sugar, leading researchers to suggest cilantro can be used to help manage diabetes. In the same study, researchers indicated that cilantro lowers total cholesterol and triglycerides in the body. In short, cilantro lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol, and protects against damage associated with cardiac impairment.
3. Eases Anxiety And Improve Sleep
Many people struggle with anxiety which can also cause difficulty sleeping. Cilantro benefits your sleep cycle naturally and calms nerves, and can improve sleep quality through its natural sedative effects. A recent study found that high levels of cilantro extract produce the same levels of anti-anxiety effects as popular prescription medications. Some prescription medications for anxiety have side effects such as confusion, hallucinations, risk-taking behavior, agitation, aggression, memory problems, and muscle weakness, to name just a few. Cilantro can relieve anxiety, and improve your sleep, without all of the side effects caused by most medications.
4. Prevents Food Poisoning And Settles Digestive Upsets
Odds are you have experienced some form of upset stomach or food poisoning in your life. If you haven’t yet, you will. Nausea, muscle aches, cold-sweats, and headaches you can have after a questionable meal can make you miserable. Having an upset stomach and/or food poisoning is the worst, and, unfortunately, it is fairly common.
But have no fear because now you can reduce your chances of getting food poisoning by consuming cilantro with a meal. A study published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology shows that cilantro is protective against listeria, which is a bacteria that often causes food poisoning.
Cilantro has also been proven to settle nausea, prevent gas and bloating, relieve indigestion and heartburn, and ease stomach cramps. It aids in digestion by helping to produce digestive enzymes that aid in the breakdown of foods. Essentially, cilantro has a “cooling effect” on the stomach which is why it often accompanies many spicy dishes.
5. Prevents Neurological Inflammation and Protects The Brain
Diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, and certain brain tumors are often associated with chronic inflammation and oxidative damage. Amazingly, evidence suggests that cilantro can protect your brain from both. Cilantro contains many antioxidants and vitamins that are protective against oxidative stress. Research shows that diets high in spices such as turmeric, clove, ginger, garlic, and cilantro significantly reduce chronic inflammation.
6. Protects Against Colon Cancer
Researchers have reason to believe that cilantro can provide protection against colon cancer by reducing cholesterol levels while increasing the excretion of sterol compounds and bile. This process decreases toxic levels in the colon, which ultimately helps lower the risk for cancer.
7. Treats Small Pox
Essential oils in cilantro contain properties, such as antioxidant and anti-contagious acids, that can help prevent and treat small pox. Those acids can also alleviate pain levels on patients that do in fact have small pox.
8. Balances Blood Sugar Levels
Cilantro shows the ability to help balance blood sugar levels. In one study, cilantro was shown to be effective for lowering blood sugar, leading researchers to suggest cilantro can be used to help manage diabetes. Elevated levels of glucose in the body can be incredibly damaging. This benefit can also help you maintain consistent energy levels throughout the day.
9. Soothes Skin Irritations
Cilantro can be used both internally and externally as a remedy for skin irritations including hives, sunburns, and poison ivy. It’s natural anti-histamines helps to calm the immune system response against allergens. When blended with coconut oil, fresh cilantro can be applied topically to soothe sunburns, dry skin, poison ivy, and hives caused by an allergic reaction.
10. Increases Bone Health
Surprisingly enough, cilantro contains a lot of bone-health properties including: Vitamin C, Vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. The Vitamin A works with antioxidants to defend your bones from oxidative damage, while also increasing the performance of your primary detoxification organs. Zinc helps with bone tissue formation, regulating growth in kids, and stimulating bone building in adults. Calcium and magnesium are 100% important minerals to build up your bones.
11. Lowers Bad Cholesterol
Cilantro contains many important acids, such as: palmitic, oleic, and linoleic. These acids help to decrease the bag cholesterol levels in the blood, as well as increasing the healthy cholesterol that defends the body from serious illnesses.
Get The Benefits Without The Taste
Cilantro is something that you either love or hate. A decent chunk of the population thinks cilantro tastes like soap. That puts a damper on using cilantro for health benefits, but the soap tasters aren’t intentionally being picky. Apparently, genetic makeup can determine whether you find cilantro distasteful. However cilantro has too many benefits to ignore. It’s a rich source of phytochemicals, antioxidants, and several nutrients such as vitamin A. It can boost your overall health.
If you want to still take advantage of cilantro’s benefits without having to taste it, you can add it in a green juice that has other delicious flavors.