Health Benefits of Cilantro (Plus Cilantro Pesto Recipe)

by Chrystal Johnson on February 8, 2011

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cilantro-health-benefitsCilantro (also known as coriander) is one of my absolute favorite herbs. I prefer to load up my tacos with cilantro rather than shredded lettuce. I just love the flavor.

I have never understood how anyone could hate cilantro. Then someone told me that cilantro tastes like soap to some people—and it’s genetic. Read this NY Times article for more info on this interesting factoid.

Not only is cilantro delicious, it’s incredibly good for you. Here’s a list of some of its wonderful health benefits.

  • Contains immune-boosting and antioxidant properties.
  • A good source of dietary fiber, iron and magnesium.
  • Rich in phytonutrients and flavonoids.
  • A powerful detoxifying agent that has been used to help remove heavy metals and other toxins from the body.
  • Aids digestion and settles the stomach; drink a cup of tea made from the leaves when you experience any form of stomach discomfort.
  • Powerful anti-inflammatory properties may help alleviate arthritis symptoms and reduce minor swelling.
  • Protects against bacterial infection from Salmonella.
  • Can help increase (good) HDL cholesterol and reduce (bad) LDL cholesterol
  • Helps reduce feelings of nausea, eases hormonal mood swings associated with menstruation and reduces menstrual cramping.
  • Helps promote healthy liver function and stimulates the endocrine glands.
  • Helps with insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar.
  • Acts as a natural antiseptic and antifungal for skin disorders such as eczema and fungal infections.
  • Wards off urinary tract infections.
  • Helps ease conjunctivitis, eye-aging, macular degeneration and other eye stressors.

Pretty powerful benefits, huh? Most people don’t know how to incorporate cilantro into their diet, besides adding it to Mexican food. So, I want to share a yummy recipe for you to try out.

Cilantro Pesto Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch fresh, organic cilantro (stems removed)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice or white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon Real salt
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it reaches your desired consistency.
  2. Warm in a small saucepan just until it starts to bubble.
  3. Mix with your favorite pasta and chicken.
  4. Serve!

It’s a super easy recipe to make and it’s full of flavor. Brian isn’t a fan of traditional basil-based pesto, but he likes this cilantro pesto!

What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy cilantro?

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