Cilantro is a green, leafy herb that can be found throughout the year. It has a unique odor and a distinct pungent flavor. The leaves of the coriander plant are referred to as cilantro in the United States, whereas the rest of the English speaking world, consider the leaves as coriander as well. It is generally used to add that fresh flavor to Asian, Mexican and Caribbean cuisines. There are number of health benefits to using cilantro in the daily diet.
One can chop up cilantro and use it in various dishes to add that unique flavor and taste to them. Additionally, you can get the health benefits from its use. It can be ground into a paste and used to make chutney. One can also use chopped cilantro or paste on salads, coups, egg dishes, etc.
History of Cilantro
Cilantro can be counted among the oldest of spices in the world. It used to be natively grown in the Mediterranean region and southern Europe and was found in abundant quantities in the present day Greece, the ancient Romans and Egyptians used cilantro for a number of medicinal and culinary purposes.
One can find references to cilantro in the Bible as well as the ancient Sanskrit texts. The name ‘coriander’ is derived from the word coriandrum which in turn has its origins in the Greek work ‘coris’ meaning bed bug. This is so because the herb smelt like bed bugs.
Health Benefits of Cilantro
Since cilantro is a naturally occurring herb, it has a number of health benefits. A few such health benefits are listed below:
- Cilantro consumption can promote the health of the heart.
- All of us know the fact that cholesterol levels can affect the well being of the heart and can result in a number of heart ailments such as cardiac arrest, stroke, etc. Cilantro does not have any cholesterol and can its intake can thus aid in prevent the accumulation of cholesterol in the body
- Also, cilantro has very low percentage of calories. Twenty grams of cilantro may contain just five calories, which in turn means lower cholesterol levels. Cilantro adds that added flavor to foods and intake of low calorie, tasty foods will only help in promoting the overall health of the heart
- Saturated and trans fat are also the prime culprits in promoting the growth of cholesterol in the body. Cilantro has almost nil quantities of trans and saturated fat.
- Cilantro is low in carbohydrates, but is rich in fiber. Fibers are known to decrease the appetite levels which in turn can aid in maintaining the body weight as well as weight reduction. A lowered body weight is bound to decrease the cholesterol levels in the body.
- Cilantro has strong antioxidant properties which help in cleansing the body of the free radicals. Therefore the body is thus more resistant to various infections and diseases and can fight off the many attacks on the body.
- Cilantro has chelating effects on the body and thus helps to remove various toxins from the body
- There are not many side effects to cilantro consumption. However, individuals who have food allergies must consult a doctor before cilantro intake as it can result in allergic reactions.
|Nutritional value per 100 g for raw cilantro|
|Energy||95 kJ (23 kcal)|
|– Dietary fiber||3 g|