What you need to know:
- Coriander, according to Wikipedia, is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. It is also known as Chinese parsley, dhania or cilantro. All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are the parts most traditionally used in cooking.
While it is mostly known for its scented leaves added mainly to meat, coriander, also known as cilantro (as coriander leaves in America) and Chinese parsley, is a herb known for spicing different dishes with both the leaves (which are preferred fresh) and seeds (best used dry or pounded or in form of oil).
Coriander, according to Wikipedia, is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. It is also known as Chinese parsley, dhania or cilantro. All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are the parts most traditionally used in cooking.
Not only does it create a great aroma in the foods and soups, coriander has various health benefits.
Reducing cancer risk
According to Felista Nakasiita, a nutritionist, coriander has several antioxidants such as terpinene, quercetin, and tocopherols, which are essential in fighting free radicals (loose oxygen molecules that can damage one’s cells, potentially causing cancer, heart disease, and more).
In an article in Medicalnewstoday, a 2019 test tube examined the effects of an extract of coriander on individual prostate cancer cells which showed reduced expression of specific genes in cancer cells.
Another test tube study showed anti-cancer effects against human breast cancer cells and inhibited damage to cells due to oxidative stress.
While these were test tube studies, “the results indicate the potential for further studies into C. sativum (coriander) and its impact on harmful activity in cancer cells,” the article states.
Coriander leaves are a rich source of vitamin C, which is important in many body functions such as formation of collagen, absorption of iron and the proper functioning of the immune system.
Some studies, according to Healthline.com suggest that coriander oil should be used in antibacterial formulations due to its ability to fight foodborne illnesses and hospital-acquired infections.
Promotes heart health
According to Nakasiita, non-communicable diseases are on the rise with heart disease becoming the lead cause of death worldwide.
“Coriander is, therefore, important in the fight against heart disease as it flushes out extra sodium from the body thus lowering blood pressure,” she says.
Nakasiita adds that coriander can help reduce Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) which is considered as the “bad cholesterol” thus reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.
Lower blood sugar
Coriander extracts may help in lowering blood sugar levels. This will prove to be beneficial for people who have diabetes as well as help in the prevention of diabetes.
However, while this may be good news for people with high blood pressure, it would not be that great for people with low blood pressure since it mainly reduces the blood pressure.
Therefore, a professional prescription would be necessary before it is added to one’s diet.
Easy to add to your diet
According to Healthline.com, all parts of the Coriandrum sativum plant are edible, but its seeds and leaves taste very different. While coriander seeds have an earthy flavour, the leaves are pungent and citrus-like, although some people find that they taste like soap.
Whole seeds can be added to baked goods, pickled vegetables, rubs, roasted vegetables, and cooked lentil dishes. Warming them releases their aroma, following which they can be ground for use in pastes and doughs.
Meanwhile, coriander leaves, also called cilantro, are best to garnish soup or use in cold pasta salads, lentils, fresh tomato salsa, or Thai noodle dishes. You can also purée them with garlic, peanuts, coconut milk, and lemon juice to make a paste for burritos, salsa, or marinades.
While coriander, among the above mentioned benefits promotes brain health, protects the skin and promotes digestion and gut health, it has side effects as well.
Coriander, according to Felista Nakasiita, a nutritionist, is a potential source of allergic reactions in some people. “Symptoms of coriander allergy may include hives and itching skin, swelling of the lips and mouth, wheezing, nausea and feeling light-headed,” she says.