The health benefits of cilantro come from beneficial phytonutrients and antioxidants, especially the flavonoid quercetin. Cilantro is also a good source of dietary fiber and iron, magnesium and manganese.
It's a little-known fact that herbs (and spices) such as cilantro have far greater concentrations of antioxidants than any common fruit or vegetable. Herbs also contain a particularly wide variety of antioxidants as well, which makes them more effective at fighting many different kinds of free radicals.
Antioxidants are nutrient compounds found in virtually all plant foods (and also manufactured in your body). The primary job of antioxidants is to protect your cells against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals, considered to be the primary cause of the aging process.
Protecting yourself against free radicals with antioxidants is the most effective way to reduce the risk of many health problems associated with aging. The benefits of antioxidants include powerful protection against all types of degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, macular degeneration, Alzheimer's disease, and many more.
Antioxidants work together, synergistically, and each one has its own specific characteristics and benefits. One antioxidant may work in places in the body where another one can't go, and neutralize free radicals that other antioxidants miss. Therefore, getting the widest variety of antioxidants is just as important as how much of any one antioxidant you get. See my page on How Do Antioxidants Work? to learn more about this.
Cilantro contains an antibacterial compound, dodecenal, that has shown to be a safe, natural means of fighting salmonella, a frequent and sometimes deadly cause of foodborne illness.
Cilantro oil (derived from cilantro) has been found to assist the digestive system in the production of digestive enzymes.
Cilantro contains good quantities of an alcohol known as borneol that is capable of destroying viruses and germs that cause colds.
Cilantro is a natural anti-inflammatory and helps to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis.
Regular intake of cilantro helps to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases good cholesterol (HDL).
The benefits of cilantro may include an ability to help control blood sugar and fight inflammation. The antioxidants found in cilantro help reduce free radical damage from exposure to sunlight. Research shows that daily use of cilantro helps in preventing skin cancer.
Cilantro has been found to chelate (remove) heavy metals like mercury, aluminum, and lead from the body. Cilantro has been specifically used to remove heavy metals that are in the brain and spinal cord.
Chlorella and liquid garlic extract bind with the mercury and remove it and other toxic heavy metals and carry them out of your body through your elimination systems. Studies done in many different countries prove that chlorella and aged garlic extract are effective for mercury and heavy metal detoxification. They also detoxify a variety of other toxic contaminates as well.
The benefits of cilantro are so numerous, you'd want to have some every day. However, you may find it impractical to include cilantro in your meal plans that often. There's an easy way to accomplish this — by making yourself a smoothie every day and adding some cilantro to your recipe.
Fresh smoothies make for some of the most nutritious, delicious and easy-to-make meals you could imagine. They're a great way to get more of those "good for you" antioxidant-rich foods (that you may not get enough of) into your diet.
I like to use small amounts of cilantro, parsley and basil in my green smoothie recipes to help give them more of the benefits of dark green leafy vegetables. Because they're so concentrated with antioxidants, you can use a much smaller amount than you would with other greens like kale or spinach, and they won't overwhelm the flavor of your smoothie recipe.
I don't stop there, either. I like to use other spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger, turmeric and others in my smoothie recipes, mostly for their added antioxidant benefits. Once they're blended in with all the other ingredients, you can't really distinguish any one particular taste, as long as you keep the proportions right. You just need to experiment a little to get the flavor just right for you.
To learn more about the art of making smoothies, skip on over to my page on how to make a smoothie the healthy way and learn all my tricks for making delicious and nutritious smoothies!
To learn more about cilantro and ways to use it,
check out The World's Healthiest Foods
Fresh cilantro is always best, of course, but fresh cilantro spoils quickly. If you learn how to grow cilantro yourself, you can always have a fresh supply of the herb at hand. You can also separate out the leaves and freeze them; then you'll always have some handy to add to your green smoothies.
The benefits of cilantro are also available in liquid extracts. Using extracts can be an easy way to ensure that you get the benefits of cilantro every day. You can find a good selection of cilantro extracts, as well as thousands of other nutritional supplements and natural health products at iHerb.com. There's many reasons why iHerb is a great place to shop:
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If you want to get all of the health benefits of spices, you'll want to stay away from typical supermarket brands. Most of them are irradiated in order to destroy microorganisms, bacteria, and viruses that might be present. Irradiation, however, damages the integrity of the spice — destroying vitamins, minerals, proteins and other beneficial micronutrients. Irradiation also creates more free radicals, just the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish by eating spices.
Fortunately, i've got a terrific source for premium-quality, organic herbs and spices — Starwest Botanicals and iHerb.com.
Starwest Botanicals started as a small retail herb shop in 1975 in Sacramento, California. From the beginning, their focus has been on quality; they source their products directly from around the world and process them in-house with their own herb mill to have more control over the finished product.
The Starwest company actively supports sustainable organic farming; as much as possible, they select ingredients from natural renewable sources and use renewable sources of energy.
Today, Starwest is one of the largest suppliers of organic herbs in the United States, with over a million pounds of herbs and spices in stock. You can get discount prices on their premium-quality products by purchasing them at iHerb's Starwest Botanical Store.
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