Cilantro is good for the heart; see 7 health benefits of herb – 04/27/2022

There’s no way to be exempt from the flavor of cilantro: it can be loved or hated with the same intensity. The herb is part of several dishes and is popularly used in Northeastern, Indian and Mexican cuisine as a condiment and flavoring.

With the scientific name of Coriandrum sativum L., coriander originates from the eastern Mediterranean region and western Asia, according to Embrapa (Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária). However, today it is consumed all over the world.

It is a source of vitamins A, B and C. In addition, it contains calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Because of this, its regular consumption is beneficial for the body and even contributes to the prevention of diseases, especially when the individual maintains a balanced diet.

It is worth mentioning that it is a low-calorie food: in 10 g of the raw leaf, which is equivalent to a spoon (soup), there are only 5 calories. The same amount of dried coriander has 29 calories.

Next, check out seven benefits of the herb, if there are contraindications and how to include it in the diet.

1. Contributes to heart health

Consuming cilantro regularly can lower risk factors for heart problems like high blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol (LDL) levels. The benefit is due to the amount of magnesium and potassium in the food.

In addition, people who use cilantro tend to add less salt to their meals, as the seasoning enhances flavor, which is beneficial for controlling high blood pressure. And the fatty acids present in the herb (oleic acid and palmitic acid) have also been shown to be effective in reducing bloodstream cholesterol levels.

2. Improves the immune system

It is a source of antioxidants, such as vitamins A and C, which strengthen the immune system and protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Therefore, it improves the recognition of threats to the body, which becomes stronger to fight viruses, bacteria and fungi.

3. Good for the brain

The anti-inflammatory properties of cilantro may protect against some diseases that affect the brain, such as Alzheimer’s. In addition, by having vitamins of the B complex (mainly thiamine), it improves the communication of the nervous system cells (neurons).

The experts consulted by Live well reinforce that the consumption of coriander is also related to the reduction of stress and anxiety, as it is a source of B vitamins and magnesium. These nutrients are also important in the process of transforming carbohydrates into energy for the brain.

4. Improve gut health

Adding cilantro to your diet reduces constipation. The herb contains small amounts of fiber, which encourages regular bowel movement, favoring the elimination of stools. It is worth noting that it is important to consume other sources of fiber and drink plenty of water for the intestine to function properly.

5. Good for digestion

Coriander has been known since ancient times to help with gastrointestinal discomforts such as gas, poor digestion and nausea. In addition, it stimulates the enzymes that are responsible for the digestion of food.

Coriander - Jennifer Borja / EyeEm - Jennifer Borja / EyeEm

Coriander improves communication of nervous system cells (neurons)

Image: Jennifer Borja / EyeEm

6. Protects the skin

Because it contains antioxidants, cilantro also helps prevent cell damage that leads to premature aging. In addition, it can protect the skin from sun damage.

7. Regulates blood sugar

The herb also has properties that lower blood sugar (glycemia) by activating certain enzymes. Therefore, coriander, when associated with a healthy diet, is beneficial and recommended for those who have diabetes, a chronic disease that causes an increase in blood sugar.

Risks and Contraindications

Cilantro consumption is considered safe for most people. However, there are individuals who are hypersensitive to the consumption of the herb. In these cases, allergic reactions such as difficulty breathing, itchy skin, abdominal distention and vomiting are common.

how to consume

The leaves have a refreshing aroma and striking flavor. Coriander goes well with fish, seafood, chicken and vegetables and can also be used as an ingredient in infusions. The seeds can be used to season marinades.

Among the recipes that combine with cilantro are: pies; moquecas; hideaways; broths; sauces; Guacamole; codfish.

Recommended amount of coriander

There is no recommended amount per day. Generally, the herb is consumed in small amounts as a condiment in various everyday recipes. Even more because it has a characteristic taste, it is not always possible to use cilantro in excess. A spoon (soup) a day is enough to enjoy its benefits.

Aversion to cilantro could be genetic

If you can’t even smell cilantro, it could be a genetic issue. And it is also common for some people to find that the flavor of the herb resembles the taste of “soap”. It is estimated that this aversion affects one in five people.

According to research, having an aversion to cilantro is associated with a gene called OR6A2, which is responsible for making some individuals more sensitive to the chemical compounds in cilantro. Therefore, the explanation for not supporting coriander lies in the genetics related to smell: some people have different receptors for this aroma.

Often, for these individuals, cilantro is reminiscent of the smell of chemicals. And typically, these people tend to be more sensitive to aldehyde, which is an organic compound found in cilantro and also in vanilla and soap.

Sources: Hiago Rafael Alvesnutrition specialist at the State Public Servant Hospital; Fernanda Carvalho Nunes da Silvanutritionist at the São Camilo Hospital Network (SP); Tarcila Camposnutritionist at the Hospital Alemão Oswaldo Cruz; Regina Vieiranutritionist and professor of the nutrition course at the Institute of Health and Biotechnology at UFAM (Federal University of Amazonas).

Reference: TBCA (Brazilian Food Composition Table).

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