In Homage to Cilantro

The most ubiquitous herb in my diet is Cilantro. I love it and can’t get enough of it although not everyone would agree with that sentiment. Apparently there are two Cilantro camps: those who include it in their diet at every opportunity and those who wouldn’t eat it if it were the last leaf on earth. Turns out, there is a reason for this: it tastes like soap to those that hate it. How unfortunate, for Cilantro has enormous health benefits and is a wonderful staple in a nutritiously balanced diet.

Also known as Coriander, Cilantro is traditionally associated with Asian and Mexican cuisines, lending each a very distinctive flavor. Can you imagine Guacamole without cilantro’s pungent kick? Or the richness of a Thai curry not being balanced with the citrusy tang of Cilantro? You may not love it outright, but it may be part of the reason you love the foods you do.

Turns out that it is also loaded in nutrients and has some amazing health benefits as well.

What most excites me about Cilantro is that it is an excellent way to get Vitamin A in your diet in a way that is not toxic. Necessary for maintaining healthy skin and proper eye health, Vitamin A is also great for reducing the incidence of cancer, particularly lung and oral cancers. Problem is, taking vitamin A supplements can be problematic because of their effect on the liver. Consuming as little as three ounces of fresh cilantro leaves in your diet delivers nearly 7000 IU of vitamin A! How great is that? And that’s not all.

Cilantro is also a good source of potassium, calcium, manganese, iron and magnesium, important minerals that help protect your heart, bones, central nervous system and immune function. In addition, this versatile herb also contains vitamin C and other antioxidant compounds such as quercitin, epigenin and kaempferol, which can help to reduce free radical damage. If that were not enough, cilantro has been shown to reduce the “bad” LDL cholesterol while helping to raise the “good” HDL numbers. It also has been shown to be a useful analgesic, digestive aid, weight loss stimulant and has anti-fungal properties. It also helps to chelate mercury from the body.

Last but not least, it’s also an aphrodisiac. This alone makes it a worthwhile addition to your diet 🙂

I have loads of recipes on my blog that include cilantro, but the easiest and most consistent way I use it is in salads. I just chop some up, add olive oil and lime juice and I’ve got myself a delicious and healthy dressing.

Here are some recipes you can check out to help you include this amazing herb in your diet. If you are a cilantro hater, perhaps hiding it in some of these flavorful recipes will help you sneak it into your diet so that you too can benefit from this incredible plant.

I want to hear from you! Are you a Cilantro lover or hater? And why? Is there a recipe that you most enjoy with cilantro? And if you’re a cilantro hater, is there a recipe in which you can tolerate it? I’d love to hear your feedback on this polarizing herb!

Have a great week everyone and stay healthy!

Kick Ass Recipes that Include Cilantro!

I reckon that in making several of these dishes a week, I am getting enough vitamin A to keep me alive and in good health for many years to come! If you’ve tried some of these recipes, I’d love to hear what you think of them in the comments below. Enjoy!