Cilantro: A Powerful Herb

I have been wanting to start a garden to grow a little bit of produce and some of my own herbs, so I bought a cilantro plant at the farmer’s market this morning. Herbs and spices are a great source of phytonutrients and antioxidants, and Cilantro is no exception.

Cilantro is a leafy herb, whose seeds are used as the spice, Coriander. The plant, native to the Mediterranean and Middle East, is rich in essential oils, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant polyphenolic flavonoids. Minerals include potassium-which plays a role in cell/body fluid regulation, heart rate, and blood pressure, iron-which is essential for production of red blood cells, calcium, magnesium, and manganese. Vitamins present in cilantro are folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin K.

Here’s how Cilantro can boost your health:

  • Lowers blood sugar by increasing insulin secretion
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • May relieve arthritis symptoms
  • Lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol, raises HDL (good) cholesterol photo (18)
  • Repairs free radical damage from sun exposure
  • Removes heavy metals from the body such as lead, mercury, and aluminum
  • Relieves gas
  • Prevents nausea
  • Anti-bacterial properties against germs and viruses that may cause the common cold, protects against salmonella
  • Preventative for urinary tract infections
  • Good source of fiber

Cilantro is commonly used in Mexican cuisine including salsa or guacamole, mixed with avocado, tomato, corn, beans, rice, or quinoa. It can be used to add flavor to chicken, soups, or even smoothies. It complements lime, peppers or hot sauce, and onion. Heat can decrease its flavor contribution, so add at the end of the cooking process.

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