Cilantro Benefits: The 8 Reasons For Eating More Cilantro

8 min read
May 14, 2024
Cilantro Benefits: The 8 Reasons For Eating More Cilantro

Cilantro is more than just a leafy green plant that adds color to food. This fragrant plant has many health-promoting qualities and is also a rich source of nutrients.

Learn eight health and wellbeing benefits of cilantro.

What is cilantro?

Chinese parsley, or coriander leaves, are other names for the young leaves and stems of the Coriandrum sativum plant that are used as cilantro.

For thousands of years, people have appreciated the medicinal qualities and distinct flavor of cilantro, an adaptable herb.

The flavor of fresh cilantro is full-bodied, zesty, and peppery with hints of mint.

In Indian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Mexican cuisines, it is frequently used to give depth and freshness to many classic meals across the globe.

It's interesting to note that a tiny portion of people are more sensitive to the aldehyde content of cilantro due to a genetic propensity. These folks typically find the flavor and smell of cilantro to be disagreeable and soapy.

Cilantro nutrition facts

Cilantro, although low in calories, packs a nutritious punch.

A portion of cilantro weighing four grams offers:

  • Vitamin A (RAE): 13.5 micrograms
  • Vitamin C: 1.08 milligrams
  • Vitamin K: 12.4 micrograms
  • Calcium: 2.68 milligrams
  • Magnesium: 1.04 milligrams
  • Phosphorus: 1.92 milligrams
  • Potassium: 20.8 milligrams
  • Folate: 2.48 micrograms

Because of its high vitamin content, cilantro is a great ally for boosting overall health. Studies have shown that adding even a tiny amount of fresh herbs can have a big impact on how much nutrition you consume.

Cilantro vs. coriander 

Different sections of the Coriandrum sativum plant are known by the popular names coriander and cilantro.

Although the leaves are frequently referred to as coriander leaves, coriander normally refers to the seeds. Cilantro, on the other hand, usually refers to the leaves and stems.

There are health and culinary benefits to both coriander and cilantro seeds.

Top 8 health benefits of cilantro

The Coriandrum sativum plant's potent nutrient composition offers a wealth of health advantages in addition to enhancing the flavor of your favorite recipes.

These eight advantages of cilantro can promote general health.

Top 8 health benefits of cilantro
Top 8 health benefits of cilantro

1. Antioxidant properties 

Antioxidants like vitamin C and phenolic chemicals, which protect the body from free radicals, are abundant in cilantro. These unstable metabolic byproducts cause oxidative stress, which is connected to the deterioration of cells and the emergence of long-term illnesses like cancer, arthritis, and heart disease.

2. Weight management

Polyphenol-rich extracts from coriander may aid in the management or prevention of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in Molecules.

The researchers found that coriander extract can help reduce body fat by encouraging lipid breakdown and inhibiting the growth of new fat cells.

Furthermore, coriander reduced blood glucose and increased insulin sensitivity, two important aspects of controlling obesity and related metabolic disorders.

3. Promotes detoxification

The natural detoxifying functions of the body are supported by coriander seeds.

According to Dr. Berg, "One of the primary benefits of cilantro is its ability to help eliminate heavy metals such as aluminum, mercury, arsenic, lead, and cadmium from the body."

Promotes detoxification
Promotes detoxification

Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine research revealed that coriander seed extract dramatically lowered blood and brain tissue levels of heavy metals, particularly lead.

Furthermore, the cilantro plant's capacity to lessen oxidative stress brought on by lead exposure highlighted its potential to aid in the prevention of lead-induced neurotoxicity.

4. Supports bone health

Cilantro has a substantial amount of vitamin K, which promotes mineral density and bone growth. These are important components in preventing illnesses like osteoporosis that are linked to bone loss.

5. Enhances digestive health

By encouraging the development of digestive enzymes necessary for efficient digestive processes, including cilantro in your diet will help you digest food more quickly.

Additionally, it has antispasmodic qualities that aid in gastrointestinal tract muscle relaxation, lessening stomach discomfort and cramping in the intestines.

6. Antimicrobial activity

Antioxidants in coriander essential oil have been shown in studies published in Foods to be able to stop the growth of dangerous bacteria, such as Stenotrophomonas maltophilia and Bacillus subtilis.

According to other research, coriander oil's antibacterial properties also worked against bacteria that are frequently linked to food illness, like Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli.

These results lend credence to the idea that foodborne diseases and food spoilage can be successfully avoided with coriander essential oil.

Furthermore, by possibly lowering acne and skin irritation, the antibacterial qualities of the Coriandrum sativum plant can be used to improve skin health.

7. Promotes blood sugar balance 

Using obese rats with elevated blood sugar, the efficiency of fenugreek and cilantro extracts in managing diabetes was examined in a study published in Bioinformation.

The two extracts worked together to dramatically reduce blood sugar levels, which was quite similar to the effects of the popular blood sugar medicine glibenclamide.

8. Mental health benefits

With its high folate level and antioxidant activity, cilantro helps promote brain function. This could be crucial in avoiding damage to nerve cells associated with neurological disorders like Alzheimer's disease.

Furthermore, studies that were published in Molecules demonstrated that the abundance of bioactive metabolites found in cilantro, including terpenes and flavonoids, mitigates the impact of conditions related to the central nervous system, including epilepsy and depression.

Additionally, the compound linalool, which is found in cilantro, may have a soothing effect and help those with anxiety and sleep issues, though there is limited evidence of this in humans.

Tips for selection, storage, and use

There are a few tricks you can use to improve the longevity and quality of this beneficial herb when you're grocery shopping. 

Tips for selection, storage, and use
Tips for selection, storage, and use

How to select cilantro 

Go for organic cilantro to get the most flavor and health advantages. The use of organic certification guarantees that the herbs are grown without the use of artificial pesticides or herbicides, which may pose a health risk.

The greatest flavor and maximum nutritious content are found in fresh cilantro. Choose cilantro that has vividly green leaves that are free of fading or wilting. Stems should be solid, not floppy or slimy, and leaves should not have black patches or deterioration.

For a more robust flavor, use whole coriander seeds rather than powdered ones if you intend to use them. To ensure they are not stale or old, fresh seeds should be smooth, spherical, and have a warm, tan to light brown color.

Whole seeds are easier to grind at home as needed for maximum freshness and aroma. They retain their flavor and vital oils longer than ground versions.

Coriander storage

To keep cilantro and coriander fresher and longer, they need to be stored properly.

To absorb extra moisture, carefully wrap your cilantro in a paper towel after washing and drying it.

After that, wrap it loosely in aluminum foil to allow for some air circulation and put it in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator to keep it fresh for up to two weeks.

Coriander storage
Coriander storage

As an alternative, you might keep coriander in jars.

Cut off the ends of the cilantro stalks first. To stop the stems from withering, place them in a jar that is only halfway full of water, making sure that no leaves are submerged. Place a loose plastic bag over the top and refrigerate.

To maintain the cilantro crisp and fresh, you should change the water every two to three days. This will help the cilantro stay fresh for up to three weeks.

To preserve shelf life, it is recommended that dried herbs, such as coriander seeds, be kept in a dry, dark, and clean container that is sealed tightly.

How to use coriander

Both cilantro leaves and seeds are adaptable culinary items that complement a variety of meals.

Whole coriander seeds provide vegetables and meats a unique flavor when used to pickling or brining solutions.

With its undertones of warmth and spice, ground coriander is ideal for adding flavor to marinades, soups, stews, and curries.

To add a pop of color and taste, freshly chopped cilantro leaves also make a great garnish.

Cilantro recipe ideas

Many different civilizations employ cilantro, so it's no surprise that this adaptable herb can be found in a broad variety of delectable recipes.

The following delectable recipes go great with the crisp taste of cilantro:

Possible downsides of cilantro

Although cilantro provides many health advantages, there may be drawbacks.

When someone is allergic to plants in the Apiaceae family, which also includes celery, carrots, and parsley, cilantro might trigger allergic reactions, including skin rashes or stomach problems.

Possible downsides of cilantro
Possible downsides of cilantro

Additionally, those who have hypoglycemia should take caution and limit their intake of cilantro because it can drop blood sugar levels.

It is advised to seek individual counsel from a healthcare provider before including cilantro into your diet due to these possible risks.

Key takeaways

Beyond its culinary uses, cilantro has many more advantages.

Abundant in antioxidants and other health-promoting chemicals, cilantro supports mental health, helps regulate blood sugar, improves bone health, helps with detoxification, and helps with digestion.


Frequently asked questions

What are the top cilantro benefits?

Cilantro has a lot of health benefits. It strengthens intestinal health, encourages bone health, and is a great source of antioxidants.

Furthermore, cilantro has been associated with improved detoxification processes, good blood sugar regulation, and weight management.

Can you eat cilantro every day?

Yes, as long as you consume it in moderation each day. Cilantro is a nutritious addition to your diet because it is low in calories and includes several important vitamins and minerals.

On the other hand, because cilantro can drop blood sugar, people with low blood sugar should use caution.

Is cilantro from the same plant as coriander?

The seeds of the Coriandrum sativum plant are known as coriander, even though the term cilantro often refers to the plant's fresh leaves. 

Why does cilantro taste like soap to me?

Some people are more sensitive to the aldehydes in cilantro due to a rare genetic condition that makes it taste and smell unpleasant, like soap.

Is cilantro good for your liver?

Yes, adding cilantro to your diet has a beneficial effect on liver function.

Important antioxidants including polyphenols and flavonoids, which support detoxification processes and shield the liver from oxidative stress, are rich in cilantro.

Is cilantro better raw or cooked?

Cooking cilantro can reduce its nutritious content because it contains heat-sensitive nutrients like vitamin C. You can also boil coriander oil to lessen or change its potency. 

Does cilantro help with detoxification?

Yes, cilantro contains substances known to help the body's natural detoxification process, such as polyphenols.