When you only eat real fresh wholefoods, you discover so many new flavors, new scents, that you really don’t understand how people lost the track with the real tastes of real food…. I like to spice my dishes a lot, using different sorts of herbs and spices. And one that I like most particularly is Coriander (or Cilantro, same thing, will use the word Coriander as it is closer to the French word “Coriandre”…;-)) ).
Coriander – or Cilantro – is an aromatic plant that today grows all over the world.
Coriander essential oil was used in Ancient Greece as a compound for perfumes. It was also used during Medieval times by the Romans to mask the unpleasant smell of rotten meat… It is native to the Mediterranean regions and Western Asia. Chinese more particularly love to use it in their cuisine (this is what is called the “Chinese Parsley”). In India, it is commonly used as a spice and added to salad dressings, meat rubs or beverages….
Both Coriander leaves and seeds (grounded in powder) can be used to give a refined flavour to your dishes. But they are much more powerful than that, offering also many health benefits for your skin, your hair and your overall health! Let’s see what this is all about.
1. Supports Digestive Health
Coriander leaves and seeds have been used traditionally to help decrease digestive issues like bloating, flatulence (gas in stomach and intestines). They help stimulate digestion (and also appetite) and treat spasms of smooth muscles, such as stomach muscles. They also help relive nausea and indigestion as they increase the amount of enzymes that process your foods. They stimulate peristalsis (intestines motor movement) and therefore help move food throughout the digestive tract. Their effect is even stronger when combined with caraway, cardamom, fennel or anise seeds.
2. Natural toxins detoxifier
Coriander helps remove toxic metals from your body (including mercury). This is because it contains chelation agents that remove the toxins from your Central Nervous System and move them through the lymph system, where they are safely removed from your body, and therefore detoxifying it.
This is why it is good to have them with foods that may contain higher levels of heavy metals, like seafood more particularly, where heavy metals easily accumulate.
3. Rich in antioxidants
Coriander herbs (with Basil) have the highest levels of beta-carotene and other potent antioxidants like flavonoids or polyphenols which are anti-inflammatory. Those antioxidants are powerful as they protect you from the oxidative stress of free radicals:
- Phenolic acids help slow down the ageing process and reduce the chances of chronic diseases like diabetes, coronary heart diseases, strokes, cancers…
- Phenolic components helped decrease liver damage in an animal study
- Quercetin is anti-inflammatory and help prevent histamine release
- Kaempferol may help fight cancer and plays an important role in the prevention of chornic diseases
4. Supports your Immune System
Coriander seeds and herbs are:
- Antibacterial (can protect from salmonella poisoning, kills bacteria that causes bad breath and gingivitis)
Applied topically, they help more particularly to treat chest pain and cough.
Diluted Coriander essential oils can be applied on skin to treat minor skin infections.
5. Helps relieve stress and anxiety (natural anxiolytic)
Coriander seeds contain 70% of linalool, which is a powerful antioxidant and provides Coriander with its pleasant smell.
Linalool also have powerful sedative and anxiety-reducing properties that help for mild anxiety.
The muscles relaxing effects and sedative qualities help calm nerves and decrease the overall stress levels. Because they are also rich in Magnesium and vitamin B, they help you have a restful sleep and help combat insomnia. For therapeutic benefits, it is recommended to have 1-5g of Coriander powder, 3 times a day.
When inhaled, Coriander seed oil helps calm the mind and provide a good relaxing, calming effect.
6. Other special health benefits from Coriander leaves and seeds:
- Help balance blood sugar levels due to its potassium/magnesium ratio
- Help decrease Insuline resistance
- Help improve cholesterol ratios by decreasing triglycerides and increasing HDL levels
- Help improve blood pressure levels
- Help improve overall Heart health
Special mention regarding Coriander’s anti-cancer properties:
Because it is rich in many anti-inflammatory antioxidants, in dietary fibers, in various enzymes and vitamins (A, B, C and K), because it helps strengthen your immune system, and because it helps detoxify your body from harmful toxins, Coriander leaves and seeds seem to be a good support to combat cancer.
Also, when you cook your food in high temperatures, Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs) are formed. And those are linked to cancer. By adding spices, especially Coriander seeds, you reduce considerable the formation of those HCAs, therefore decreasing your risk of cancer. So Coriander is even better and more potent when used as a rub, a spice or marinade for meats or burgers for example.
People seem to love or hate Coriander. This is because its Aldehyde chemicals give it a pungent smell, that is balanced by grassy, lemony notes. Some people (apparently it is genetic) are more receptive to the Aldehyde than the other pleasant notes, which explains why they don’t really like it…. But nevertheless, even those people should add Coriander as a great spice or herb option in their food! Be creative, you can add it to your vegetables juices (SEE BLOG here), your sauces, marinades, your salads…. So easy.
I personally LOVE Coriander. I regularly add it to my raw salads, because it really gives my green mix an extra spicy very refined taste. Don’t always choose Parsley! Variety is key, so give it a try for a change and let me know what you think :-)
In Health and Happiness,