Considered an herb or spice by many, I would argue that cilantro should be eaten like a veggie. With scores of health benefits, many of which are unique to this wonderful plant, there’s more than enough reason to cook Mexican food this week.
From a potent antimicrobial, killing those tiny, invisible bugs, to the hero saving us from the stress of daily life, let’s put cilantro under the microscope and see what it has in store for our health!
Oh, and remember all that lead paint in our toys and homes as children? Just another great reason to keep reading!
As a note: ‘Coriander’ and ‘Cilantro’ are the same plant.
You’ll hear the word coriander typically when referring to the seeds, and cilantro when referring to the leaves and stems.
Keep in mind, though they come from the same plant, they have differing benefits for your health, and an altogether different flavor.
Today, we’re only going to be looking at cilantro & the breakdown of its many benefits!
Chelation (pronounced Kee-lay-shon): Seeing as this is a word many of you may not have encountered, allow me to explain! Chelation, simply put, is when one substance binds to another in the body in order to be excreted. Or put another way, something goes in and ‘grabs’ the bad chemical so your body can get rid of it.
How does this all relate to cilantro? Good question! Cilantro contains chemicals that act as lead chelating substances. In other words, eating cilantro removes excess, toxic lead from the body!
This effect is almost unique to cilantro, but is also performed by the medical industry (using a synthetic chemical) to cure heavy metal toxicity.
Am I suggesting that this plant be used for high-level exposure to lead in lieu of emergency medical treatment? Not at all! But, if you believe you’ve been exposed to small levels of lead in the past, juicing or including this veggie into your meals could help prevent further build up or help remove that heavy metal from your body! Certainly a good excuse to make a visit to your produce section!
Antioxidants: Cilantro has been found so rich in antioxidants that it can be used to preserve food! Antioxidants reduce the damage of stress on your body, and are believed to have anti-aging and numerous health-boosting properties!
Lower Your Cholesterol: Cilantro contains high levels of essential oils (that’s the lovely smell), vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which together have the effect of lowering your LDL (that’s the bad stuff) cholesterol.
Vitamin A: With a whole host of benefits, Vitamin A improves the eyesight, skin health, and may even lower your risk of lung and mouth cancers. Another great benefit? Vitamin A has been shown to reduce the harmful effects of the hormone cortisol, and the drug-version Cortisone.
This equates to less stress, better sleep, lowered risk of diabetes, and improved recovery. For athletes who get enough vitamin A in their diet, ‘over training’ becomes a thing of the past and muscle recovery is swift and effective.
As always, there are many more nutrients to include in this list – I simply wanted to point out a few excellent health benefits you could experience from consuming more cilantro.
To add this plant to juices, I would recommend smaller amounts to begin with unless you absolutely love the smell and flavor. The more you juice the better, of course! Sometimes we need to grin and bear it, for the sake of health!
As for cooking, you’ll find cilantro much more versatile. Cilantro goes well into any Mexican dish, Spanish cuisine, and even Italian food.
It’s a delicate plant, so try to add it late to the dish if possible – even raw, served on top or alongside a dish is excellent, as it preserves the fragrance.
Don’t forget to add it to your salad mix!