Think of cilantro as your go-to springtime detox superherb! Cilantro health benefits include vitamins A, C and K, folate, calcium, magnesium and potassium. It’s one of the most powerful herbs you can add to your diet to keep your body cleansed through its toxin-reducing plant power.
Cilantro is particularly good at binding heavy metals like mercury, lead and aluminum and facilitating their elimination from the body. Toxic metals that accumulate in our tissues can lead to impaired organ function, hormone imbalances, neurological issues, oxidative stress and more. We can all benefit from ramping up our detox pathways through including foods like cilantro in our diets more often.
Cilantro is also a wonderful digestive aid as it supports the production of enzymes which we need to break down our food and absorb the nutrients. It’s a fantastic remedy for gas, bloating, heartburn, indigestion and stomach cramps.
It is a “cooling” herb by nature so it pairs well with hot and spicy dishes, such as curries, green chili, enchiladas and Asian noodle dishes. It has a bright, citrusy flavor that most people are fond of; however, to a small amount of people, it tastes like soap. Why? Because these individuals have a variation in a group of genes that allows them to strongly perceive the soapy-flavored aldehydes in cilantro leaves.
How to Use Cilantro
Here are some easy ways to reap the detox and digestive benefits of cilantro:
- Swap a handful of spinach for a small handful of cilantro in your smoothies
- Sprinkle freshly chopped cilantro on tacos, stir fries, salads or soups
- Add a big serving to homemade guacamole and salsa
- Sub out some of the basil with cilantro in your next pesto
- Make the creamy cilantro-jalapeno sauce below to drizzle over fish tacos, roasted chicken, crab cakes or dip sweet potato fries in it!
Creamy Cilantro-Jalapeño Sauce
Makes ¾ cup
- 1 cup packed fresh cilantro
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
- 5 tablespoons avocado-oil mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.