Everyone knows that choosing the right types of foods can help you stay healthy. Not only do leafy green herbs add flavor to food but they can help protect you against a variety of chronic conditions and they can fight off inflammation. This guide will help you discover many health benefits of cilantro leaves and how you can add this superfood to your diet.
Like many edible plants, cilantro is extremely rich in phytonutrients and flavonoids. Both are natural chemicals that can be found in a variety of plants. Cilantro is easy to grow and becomes one to two feet tall. The leaves are best eaten while fresh, and you can dry the seeds to be used in cooking. Cilantro seeds can help lower blood sugar and lower cholesterol, and the leaves of the plant can help flush the body of toxins and impurities. Cilantro is rich in:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
It is also a good source of dietary fiber, which can help aid in digestion. For more nutritious superfoods checkout our 50 Best Superfoods of 2015.
How to Choose Your Cilantro
In the United States, the plant’s seeds (whether whole or ground) are known as coriander, and the leaves are referred to as cilantro. In other parts of the world, both the seeds and the leaves are known simply as coriander.
Fresh cilantro is typically sold in bunches at your local farmers market or grocery store, although you can easily find dried cilantro in the spice aisle of your local grocery store. When selecting fresh cilantro, you should be sure to look for bright green bunches with no yellow spots or wilted leaves. When you get home, store your cilantro stem-side down in a glass or jar filled with water, ensuring the leaves are above the water line. Cover the entire container with a plastic bag and place it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. To keep the leaves crisp and fresh, change the water every few days.
1. Mexican and Stir Fry
Cilantro can be used in a wide variety of ways, and it is fairly easy to prepare. It is a very popular addition to Mexican cuisine, especially the authentic Mexican food available in California.
Rinse the leaves in water for a few seconds and gently shake off any excess water. Use a sharp knife and cut the leaves into small pieces. Add the fresh-cut cilantro to stir fries, tacos or fajitas, sauces, smoothies, salads, and stews. You can even use it to garnish meat, fish, and chicken to take advantage of the cilantro health benefits.
2. Juice it
Along with soups and salads and other dishes, cilantro can be added to your juicer for an added boost of vitamins and minerals. All parts of the plant can be eaten, and when you add it to your juice, it will provide a sweet citrus taste that combines with a hint of pepper. Cilantro leaves have essential oils, and they are an excellent source of iron, which is vital for red blood cells production. By adding a touch of cilantro to your juice before you go to bed, you can also help calm the mind and improve your quality of sleep. When combined with parsley in juice, the health benefits of cilantro and parsley are numerous. They may help regulate menstruation cycles and even help fight bad breath. You can also add cilantro to cucumber and celery juice to help you replenish your body with B vitamins.
If you prefer a lighter drink, the health benefits of cilantro tea are also an excellent reason to add it to your daily ritual. Simply fill a tea infuser with fresh or dried cilantro leaves and place it in a teacup. Pour boiling water over the tea and allow it to seep for about ten minutes. Remove the infuser and add a small amount of honey or sugar for taste.
Cilantro leaves have excellent muscle relaxing qualities, and they can also act as a mild laxative. In fact, the health benefits of cilantro tea can help you reduce anxiety and stress and unwind at the end of a long day. For those battling with feelings of nausea, cilantro leaves can help settle an upset stomach, and they enable the digestive tract to produce enzymes and additional digestive juices. Cilantro leaves even have antioxidant properties.
4. Skin and Hair Paste
To help absorb excess oil from your skin, cilantro juice can be applied and washed off within an hour. When used daily, cilantro can help prevent the signs of aging including wrinkles, sagging skin, and pigmentation. For thick luscious hair, make a paste using fresh cilantro leaves and a few drops of water. Apply the leaves directly to the hair and leave on for approximately an hour before you shampoo. For best cilantro health benefits, you should use the leaves twice a week to help promote new hair growth and combat hair loss. For added shine and bounce, you can prepare a hair rinse by boiling a bunch of cilantro leaves and allowing it to cool. Pour the rinse over your hair after you have washed it.