Leave the confusion behind and just remember that cilantro and coriander are different names for the same plant. The leafy plant that’s called cilantro in USA and Spain is called coriander in UK and Asia. Nutty and citrusy, the herb leaves your food light, sweet and aromatic. An extremely versatile herb; the uses of coriander and the benefits of coriander elevate it to the fringes of a superfood. Yet, it’s not quite but it’s green in colour. And aren’t all green foods healthy?
Table Of Content:
1. What Is Coriander?
2. Nutritional Profile Of Coriander
3. Health Benefits Of Coriander
What Is Coriander?
Coriander is a herb that belongs to the “Apiaceae family of the flowering plants” better known as the parsley family. Remember that it’s a herb. It’s not a spice, it’s not a shrub. It’s a herb. When somebody says the word ‘coriander’, whether they realise it or not, they are referring to the entire plant; stems, leaves, seeds all included. On account of its vast usage in cooking, you can call it a ‘culinary herb’. Honestly, that’s just fancy terminology. One of the coolest things about this culinary herb is that it’s completely edible. Right from its leaves to its roots; it’s all edible. One of the many benefits of coriander.
Nutritional Profile Of Coriander:
To better understand the health benefits of coriander, it’s important to understand its nutritional profile first. Coriander leaves provide the body with just 23 calories/100 grams. The major nutrients found in coriander (all parts included) are Folates, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Iron, Manganese and Copper.
Health Benefits Of Coriander:
Don’t ever think of coriander as just a tasty seasoning that’s added to your food. That’s being completely ignorant of its healthy properties. Unlike many things in life, coriander is equally beautiful from the outside and the inside. With the pressure of overselling it bearing on our shoulders, let’s take a look at some of the biggest health benefits of coriander:
(a) Reduces Skin Inflammation:
Coriander contains cineole and linoleic acid both of which are known to possess antirheumatic and antiarthritic properties. Hence, many home remedies that fight rheumatism and arthritis contain coriander extracts. The end result of this being a release in discomfort and an overall improvement in the general appearance of one’s skin.
(b) Inhibits Tumor Formation and Growth:
Coriander contains active compounds that help with the production of certain enzymes. The enzymes thus created, have the power to fight off the tumour causing ions and convert them into less toxic substances thereby, inhibiting the formation and growth of tumour cells.
(c) Reduce Cholesterol Levels:
Coriander is a herb that’s made out of a lot of different acids. The acids that it contains along with the Vitamin C that’s found within it prove to be extremely effective in reducing the cholesterol levels of the body. More specifically, it helps to reduce the deposition of the dangerous LDL cholesterol in the body and increase the levels of healthy HDL cholesterol in the body. By doing so, it protects one’s body from various different kinds of cardiovascular diseases.
(d) Functions As A Natural Pain-Killer:
Coriander seeds contain an active compound that goes by the name of Linalool. Because of this compound, the seeds possess analgesic properties. By acting on the central pain receptors, coriander seeds function as natural pain-killers.
(e) Facilitates Digestion:
Coriander has a very positive impact on one’s stomach. The presence of essential oils in coriander facilitate the easy digestion of food. To assist the stomach in its digestion process, coriander stimulates the liver to produce bile juices with higher bile content. The positive health effects of coriander on one’s stomach don’t stop just there. Eating coriander can stimulate the pancreas to produce greater quantities of digestive enzymes. Because of the many bioactive compounds that are present in coriander, it’s a popular home remedial herb for stomach aches and nausea. Research also points out that coriander can be used as an effective medicine to treat diarrhoea.
(f) Prevents Weight-Gain:
Ayurvedic teachings have been responsible for the findings of this particular health benefit of coriander. As already illustrated above, coriander helps reduce the cholesterol levels in the body. Ayurvedic teachings tell us that the decoction that’s prepared of coriander seeds help to reduce the blood lipid levels which in turn, prevent the body from absorbing excess dietary cholesterol which is what ultimately prevents the body from gaining any weight.
(g) Antiseptic Properties To Treat Wounds and Deal With Dental Problems:
Coriander is known to contain citronellol - a powerful and effective antiseptic. But that’s not all. There are other antimicrobial compounds that are present in coriander that allow for it to be a useful remedy to treat wounds and mouth ulcers, in particular. Bad-breath is another dental problem that can be tackled using coriander. If you go out to the market to buy a toothpaste, you will see that many ‘natural-ingredient toothpastes’ are being sold. Most of these toothpastes inculcate coriander into the paste.
Fun fact: Many hundreds of years ago, when toothpaste was a luxury that wasn’t invented, tribal people in some parts of the world used coriander seeds to fight away bad breath.
(h) Rich In Iron:
Since coriander is rich in iron, people who suffer from anaemia are asked to consumer coriander regularly, in some form or another. Iron is an extremely important nutrient in our body. Lack of iron in one’s body can cause weakness, bone damage and a drop in one’s cognitive abilities.
(i) Anti-Allergic Properties:
The findings of multiple studies confirm that coriander has strong anti-histamine properties. The impact of this being that, coriander proves to be an effective combatant against various seasonal allergies. One of the popular uses of coriander is in the form of coriander oil. Coriander oil has a unique health benefit too. It can be applied to one’s body to reduce the adverse effects of allergic reactions that may be triggered after touching something.
(j) Great Source Of Calcium:
Believe it or not; coriander is a great source of calcium. We all know the importance of calcium; strong bones. Our bones need calcium to grow and heal quickly when damaged. Most of the calcium found in coriander is present in the center of the leaves. Word of advice: just sprinkle some coriander leaves over your food and make that a habit.
Coriander may not be a ‘superfood’ but it has many benefits; health and non-health that makes it a remarkable herb. Something so inexpensive, healthy and readily available; it’s a shame if it’s not a part of your everyday diet in some form or another. The benefits of coriander have been left for you to see. Skin benefits, rich in calcium and iron, anti-allergic and anti-bacterial properties, effective mechanism for weight control, an inhibitor of tumours, cholesterol monitor and a pain-killer- that’s coriander for you. The next time you visit the grocer prepares to look at coriander differently. Because coriander is not just a green herb, it’s the green herb of your dreams!