Cilantro is a pungent, delicious herb popular in Asian and Latin American cuisines. It’s also packed with heart-healthy nutrients.
- ...helps detox the body. When it comes to detoxing, cilantro is a secret weapon. Japanese researchers found that cilantro can even dissolve highly toxic mercury from the body, and can excrete other heavy metals and toxins from the body.
- ...soothes the stomach. Whether it's menstruation cramps, digestion issues or flatulence, cilantro has been used as a natural stomach remedy in Asia for thousands of years. This is probably due to its high content of essential oils.
- ...inhibits inflammation. Cilantro’s vibrant green leaves contain many antioxidants. Among other things, these secondary plant substances provide effective protection against inflammation. They can also help relieve symptoms of chronic inflammation such as rheumatism.
- ...have a gentle antibiotic effect. American studies have shown that the substance dodecenal in cilantro can kill the dangerous and very resistant salmonella, which often causes food poisoning.
- ...contains valuable essential oils. Cilantro’s high content of linalool, geraniol, borneol, pinene and coriandrol lends this herb its unique flavor and smell and adds a slew of health benefits.
What You Should Know About Cilantro
Fresh cilantro is one of the top culinary stars in many Asian countries, especially in Thailand and Vietnam. It’s also an integral part of Latin American cooking.
Cilantro is one of the oldest known spices; it was mentioned in the Old Testament and found in the tomb of Tutankhamen (1323 BC). The spice was also valued in ancient Rome. In his cookbook from the 1st century A.D., the Roman chef Apicius published 70 different recipes with cilantro.
Fresh cilantro leaves have a strong, slightly-onioney and deeply pungent flavor. However not everyone loves cilantro; in fact, about 17% of the U.S. population has a genetic defect which makes cilantro virtually unpalatable to them, tasting like dish soap.
How Healthy Is Cilantro?
American researchers found out that cilantro contains a substance that has a natural antibiotic effect. The substance called dodecenal, which is contained in both dry and fresh cilantro, has been shown to kill salmonella. Thanks to its numerous essential oils (linalool, geraniol, borneol, coriandrol), cilantro can also relieve cramps, aid digestion and inhibit inflammation.
|Cilantro Nutritional Info (100 g)|
Shopping and Cooking Tips
Fresh cilantro is available year round in any supermarket. While dried cilantro is available, the fresh variety has a much more delicious and strong flavor, and adds a beautiful green hue to dishes when sprinkled raw on top.
Fresh cilantro can be stored in the refrigerator for several days. Ensure you pack your cilantro in an airtight plastic bag, with a slightly damp cloth to retain freshness.
To prepare, simply wash your cilantro, shake dry, and chop. The cilantro stem has great flavor but is a little more coarse than the leaves. It’s up to you whether you’d like to prepare with the stem, or just chop up the leaves.
Cilantro’s strong flavor makes it compatible with relatively few other spices. Mint and cumin are always good options.
What To Make With Cilantro
Fresh cilantro lends abundant flavor, freshness and color to a variety of dishes, from soups, and salads to appetizers and meat or vegetarian entrees. Mexican chicken or al pastor tacos gain valuable flavor with a sprinkle of cilantro. If you haven’t tried a Vietnamese banh mi, this delicious sandwich is a great and easy-to-prepare way to enjoy cilantro at its prime.