11 Facts You Didn’t Know About CilantroPublished Date:
They say that cilantro is one of those ingredients that you either love or hate. Whether you’re a cilantro lover or a cilantro hater, no one can deny the fact that cilantro is one of the most popular herbs in the world.
And we totally understand why! Its crisp, unique taste brings fresh flavor and depth to meals and drinks, never failing to add a wow factor to cooking creations. Not only is it one-of-a-kind in taste, it’s an incredibly versatile plant, successfully enhancing flavors whether it’s cooked, raw or blended.
Here, we are talking all things cilantro. We get to grips with the health benefits of cilantro and delve into some surprising facts about this small but mighty plant. We also mention easy ways to incorporate more cilantro into your diet, so you can benefit from all of cilantro’s green goodness.
And if you’re not yet the biggest cilantro fan, we recommend you keep reading! Some of these exciting cilantro facts may change your mind on giving this healthy herb another try…
FACT NO.1 - It’s ancient and worldly…
Cilantro is at least 5000 years old, making it one of the world’s oldest herbs. Cilantro seeds have even been found in ancient Egyptian tombs!
Cilantro was brought to the Americas from Europe around the 1600s. It is now consumed pretty much everywhere, but originally comes from the Mediterranea, the Middle East, Northern Africa and Southwest Asia.
FACT NO.2 - The entire plant is edible
The leaves, seeds and stem of the coriandrum sativum plant (aka cilantro!) are edible. The leaves make up the herb and the seeds, which are either available as whole seeds or ground, are used as a spice. Even the strongly-flavored stems can be put to good use in curry pastes and soups!
FACT NO.3 - It has been used for its medicinal properties
One of our favorite cilantro facts is that its roots have been used to make teas and herbal medicines. This dates back to the use of cilantro historically in China to aid digestive problems.
FACT NO.4 - It’s super nutritious
We’ll touch more on the health benefits of cilantro below, because it’s important to know how nutritious this plant is! It’s rich in vitamins A, K and E - helping to take care of your eyes, skin, bone health and immune system.
FACT NO.5 - It’s got a tricky taste for some…
For most of us, cilantro has a citrusy, peppery taste that adds pleasant, fresh flavors to our food. However, there’s an unlucky few who find that cilantro can taste like soap or dirt. Interestingly, this difference in taste may be all down to genetics.
A 2012 study found that this soapy taste is due to the aldehydes present in cilantro. The study found that people who have an aversion to the plant have a certain smell reception gene that makes them super sensitive to aldehydes, explaining the soapy taste of cilantro!
If this sounds like you, you can still enjoy the benefits of cilantro. Maybe try it blended with other particularly strong, sweet ingredients in cold-pressed juices or smoothies.
FACT NO.6 - It’s a plant of many names…
While you will most likely know this plant as cilantro, it’s also known as coriander, Chinese parsley, Indian parsley and sea parsley depending on where you are in the world!
FACT NO.7 - It’s used in all kinds of cuisines and dishes
Cilantro is a rich and important ingredient as it can be used in such diverse and varied cuisines. It’s used in Mediterranean, Mexican, Indian, Chinese, Thai, North African and Eastern European cuisines - to name a few! It’s often used in salsas, curries, soups and sauces for extra flavor.
FACT NO.8 - There’s a reason this plant is so pungent!
Cilantro is full of essential oils such as thymol and carvacrol, giving the herb a distinctly strong aroma. Go ahead and breathe in that cilantro smell…
FACT NO.9 - It could have anti-inflammatory properties
Another great cilantro nutrition fact is that it is full of antioxidants, meaning it may have anti-inflammatory benefits. A test-tube study demonstrated that the plant reduced inflammation and stopped the growth of various cancer cells.
FACT NO. 10 - You can grow it yourself at home
If you’ve got green fingers, and like the idea of always having fresh cilantro to hand, why not grow it yourself? All you need is potting soil, cilantro seeds and a plastic pot with drainage holes.
Fill your pot with potting soil and plant your seeds ¼ deep into the soil, cover lightly with more soil. Keep the soil lightly moist being careful not to over water. You’ll have cilantro stalks peeping through in no time!
FACT NO. 11 - Cilantro tastes great in a cold-pressed juice!
The last cilantro fact (but certainly not the least) is that cilantro tastes great in The Clover. This Little West cold-pressed juice is bursting with cilantro goodness, and is also rich in other healthy ingredients like kale, spinach and pear!
So what are the health benefits of cilantro?
We briefly talked about some of the amazing health benefits of this herbaceous plant in our cilantro facts. Here, we break it down further, so you can get clued up on even more reasons to incorporate cilantro into your diet:
1. Cilantro is rich in vitamins and minerals!
We already know that cilantro is rich in vitamins A, K and E. It’s also good to know that the seeds of the plant are loaded with important minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium and manganese. The entire plant is a healthy gold-mine.
2. Cilantro could help to reduce sugar levels!
Certain research has suggested that cilantro could reduce sugar levels in the blood by increasing the activity of the enzymes that help remove it. One study even suggests it may help people with diabetes.
3. Cilantro could help to fight infections!
Research has suggested that the antibacterial properties of cilantro could help to fight infection in the body. From combatting salmonella to fighting bacteria that causes UTIs, this little plant could have some serious infection-fighting potential!
4. Cilantro could decrease the risk of heart disease!
Cilantro could reduce certain risk factors of heart disease. One study showed that cilantro extract supplements could reduce blood clotting, and further research has suggested extract from the seed decreases blood pressure.
5. Cilantro could reduce inflammation!
This plant is packed with antioxidants, crucial molecules for suppressing free radicals that promote inflammation. A test-tube study found that cilantro reduced inflammation and also reduced the size of certain cancer cells. An animal study also suggested that cilantro could help fight skin aging, a process that is often advanced by free radicals.
How Can I Incorporate More Cilantro Into My Diet?
If you’re a big cilantro fan, there’s a ton of simple ways to get more of that green goodness into your diet. Cilantro makes a great addition to salad dressings, vegan dips, curries, soups and stews. It’s guaranteed to bring an added zing to your vegan meals!
Another great way to incorporate cilantro into your diet, especially if cilantro isn’t your favorite thing, is to try it in The Clover. This Little West cold-pressed juice is perfect for hydrating and nourishing your body with all the health benefits that cilantro has to offer!
This juice is full of locally sourced, fresh ingredients, giving your body the best, high-quality nutrients. It’s packed with vitamin C, iron and vitamin K, and could help reduce inflammation. Not only is it super healthy, it tastes delicious. Sweet pear, fresh mint and lime harmonize perfectly with the cilantro, so even cilantro skeptics can’t help but love it!
It’s a great one for giving yourself an energizing pick-me-up if your body is feeling slow or sluggish, and is also a wonderful breakfast accompaniment. Honestly though, The Clover tastes delicious any time of day - so make sure you’ve always got some stocked in the fridge!
All In All
We hope that these cilantro facts and our nutritional guidance leaves you feeling informed and ready to incorporate more of this incredible plant into your diet! There’s a reason it’s been used in such varied domaines and cuisines for so long; it’s a small plant with a wealth of benefits. Why wouldn’t you give cilantro a chance?