It is interesting to know that coriander leaves have received a “free” status in many Indian kitchens. Right? Obviously, if you are an Indian, then you know what I mean. Many of us especially those who shop from the local market (not the fancy supermarket) take it as a birthright to claim the dhaiya patta (coriander leaves in Hindi) for free at the vegetable billing counter. Coriander leaves are the herbs which are capable enough to elevate the color and flavor of any dishes or drinks immediately. Do you know that apart from adding a punch in cooking, this “ free” herb has many health benefits which make it a must-have in daily diet?
Coriander leaves (Coriandrum sativum) are tender annual herb from the family Apiaceae. This is used in cuisines throughout the world. coriander’s gentle leaves are either added raw or near the end of cooking in order to maintain their delicate flavor and texture. It is commonly called as Dhaniya or kothimeer in India.
Are Cilantro and Coriander leaves the same?
Both cilantro and coriander come from the Coriandrum sativum plant. In the US, the plant’s leaves and stem are called cilantro whereas the dried seeds are referred to as coriander. Otherwise, internationally the leaves and stems are called coriander while the dried seeds are called coriander seeds.
It is very interesting to see that even after being part of the same plant, the coriander seeds and leaves have very different tastes and flavor.
Nutritive value of coriander leaves (per 100 gm)
Do you know your regular “coriander” is a healer.Let’s dig deep to know its health benefits.
1) Cleanse and detox your kidney naturally
Every 30 minutes our kidneys filer all of the blood in our body, removing toxins from the blood, excreting them in urine and preventing damage of all other organs.Kidneys also regulate alkaline/acid balance in our body, preventing our body from becoming dangerously acidic. Regulating acids and toxins is dangerous work. Kidney’s are vulnerable to toxic overload if we don’t protect them.Coriander is a kidney friendly herb.It aids in detoxification.
Coriander has a great diuretic property.What is a diuretic?
Diuretics (also known as water pills) help the body get rid of excess fluid, mainly sodium and water from the body.They stimulate kidneys to excrete more sodium into urine.When diuretics flush away sodium, the body also flushes away water. Doctors prescribe diuretics when the body is retaining too much fluid.This problem is more common in few conditions like high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, kidney stones, kidney dysfunction, diabetes etc. These conditions require the regulation of fluid in the body or will result in fluid retention the body.
Prescribed diuretics may cause side effects like headache, thirst, dizziness, muscle cramps and diarrhoea. Considering a natural diuretic is always safe.Consuming coriander on daily basis protects our renal health and helps kidney to function smoothly.
2) Regulate blood sugar levels and treats diabetes
The article published in the Journal of food sciences, shows coriander helps to balance blood sugar.They are thought to do this by increasing the activity levels of enzymes that help remove sugar from blood.It effectively controls the insulin rules from pancreatic beta cells which reduces serum glucose.
Diabetics are recommended to include low glycemic index (GI) value foods in their diet.Coriander has a GI value of of 33, which is quite low and can be added in diabetic diet.
What is glycemic index?
It is relative ranking of carbohydrates in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels.Carbs with lo GI value (55 or less) are digested ,absorbed and metabolised slowly and cause gradual rise in blood glucose.
Also, Coriander is rich in fibre and takes long to digest keeping us full for longer time.This slows down the rise of blood sugar levels.Thus,Coriander is useful in combating diabetes.
3) Anti oxidant benefits
The daily reactions inside our body naturally produce free radicals, also known as reactive oxygen species (ROS). The free radicals are unstable and react with many internal molecules such as proteins, DNA and compounds within cells.The body keeps a balanced supply of ROS for immune response against foreign invaders. Physiological and environmental factors like food, air quality, extreme exercise, or other life stresses increase our internal ROS production, increasing oxidative stress. Antioxidants are the counter active molecules that react with ROS and neutralise their effect, protecting the body system against cell damage.Coriander has powerful antioxidants which includes flavonoids, linalool, terpenes, Vitamins-A, C &B2, Calcium ,phosphorous, iron. Together these trepenes, flavanoids and other phytonutrients improve antioxidant defence mechanism by stimulating enzymes like superoxide dismutase(SOD) and catalase(CAT) which decrease oxidative stress.
4) Anti Cancer agent
The same powerful antioxidant compounds have produced numerous health benefits throughout the body.It also possess cancer fighting abilities.Coriander make part of phytotherapy a recognise complimentary and alternative medicinal (CAM) therapy often used by healthcare in combination with standard medical treatment. The phytonutrients present in coriander react with damage causing free radicals, improving function of healthy tissues while inhibiting growth of cancer cells. Coriander’s antioxidants have a scavenging ability, which directly react with ROS protecting tissue integrity and reduces tumour growth. Recent investigations shown that Coriander fights tumours by increasing H2O2 and Caspase enzymes 3,8 &9 (protease enzymes) which play a vital role in programmed cell death ( Apoptosis) .
5) Maintaining a healthy heart
A study published in the journal of dietary supplements found that Coriander can regulate blood pressure by inducing contractions (in a mechanism involving acetyl choline as neurotransmitter) and relaxing blood vessels by blocking calcium from entering the heart and blood vessels.The high phenolic content have high antioxidant capacity and it protects heart from oxidative damage.It lowers blood pressure and prevent atherosclerosis by balanceng lipid levels and fighting free oxygen radicals.Indirectly it controls blood pressure by increasing urine output which regulates salt levels in blood. Coriander leaves thus offer protective effects on heart.
6) Helps to detox the liver
Coriander leaves contain powerful detoxifying abilities.They bind to heavy metals in the blood stream and thus purify blood, tissues and organs.This process occurs because the leaves possess biochemical content : phytic acid, citric acid, and amphorteric electrolytes.The leaves contain all chelating agents, vitamins and minerals.
They are natural diuretic and thus act as a natural balance for sugar levels.They are a great source of kidney detoxification as they help in excess salt elimination from kidneys and free the body from load of heavy metals.
Healing Juice – A glass of coriander juice ( 50 ml) or coriander infused water twice in a week helps to get benefits from the coriander.
Recipe : Wash and clean a bunch of fresh coriander leaves thoroughly in water to remove dirt and any residual harmful pesticides that might be sticking on them.Chop the leaves as small as possible.Put the chopped leaves in a vessel.Pour filtered water and boil for 10 minutes.Filter after cooling using a sieve.Pour the filtered liquid into sterilised glass bottles and store in refrigerator. Drink one glass (50-60ml) twice a week.
Apart from the above health benefits coriander leaves add a lovely fragrance and flavor to food.s
How much coriander is safe to use?
Excessive coriander leaves usage may reduce blood sugar levels drastically. They may alleviate some allergic reactions such as itching, rash, swelling, breathing trouble, etc to those who are sensitive to Apiaceae family. It can be consumed moderately every day.
It is safe to consume 10gms -15gms of coriander every day. In short, don’t overdo it. Feel free to sprinkle fresh coriander leaves or use the paste of coriander leaves to any dish or drink.
How to use coriander leaves in the diet.
CAUTION – Coriander is not recommended for the individuals suffering from chronic kidney disease(CKD) due to its high levels of potassium.
I am listing a few simple and yummy cuisines through which you can add coriander leaves in your diet. Or you can just simply chop and sprinkle it in dals, curries and everyday dishes. It will taste heavenly. Besides these, try coriander leaves in the following way-
• Coriander Rice
• Coriander Chutney
• Coriander and spinach paratha
• Coriander and Buttermilk drink.
• Mint coriander soup
• Carrot and coriander fritters.
Coriander leaves are a treasure in your kitchen. Even after having a “free” status, start giving much needed “value” to these wonderful herbs. It is affordable and easily available all over the world throughout the year. It has great medicinal values apart from taste enhancing the property in the cuisines. Have it as a dip or garnish on your food generously to get your daily fix.
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