Coriander: properties, benefits, uses

Also called Chinese parsley, coriander is widespread in Eastern culture and has an intense, spicy flavor and several healthful properties. Let’s find out together.

Coriander is an annual herbaceous plant that belongs to the Apiacea or Umbrelliferous family, the same as fennel. The plant uses fresh leaves and ripe fruits, improperly called coriander seeds, which are used as a spice in cooking.

The botanical name of the coriander plant is Coriandrum sativum. The name derives from the Greek, and in particular the term coriandrum means “similar to the bedbug”, this is because the coriander leaves and the immature fruits have a slightly unpleasant smell which, for some, reminds that of green bugs. For this reason, coriander is also referred to as a bug herb.

The other name by which coriander is known is that of Chinese parsley, this is because the fresh coriander leaves have a very similar appearance to common parsley, with a greater size, and also because it is widely used in oriental cuisine. Fresh cilantro has an intense spicy flavor while the fruits have a sweet flavor with a lemon aftertaste. Let’s see all the nutritional properties and benefits of coriander.

Coriander: calories and nutritional values

Coriander is a low – calorie vegetable, in fact it only provides 23 per 100 grams. It is also low in fat and high in fiber. Below is the nutritional table of fresh coriander.

Nutritional values ​​per 100g of fresh coriander:

  • Kilocalories: 23
  • Fat: 0.52 gr
  • Carbohydrates: 3.67 gr
  • Proteins: 2.13 gr
  • Fibers: 2.8 gr
  • Waterfall: 92.21 gr
  • Soccer: 67 mg
  • Iron: 1.77 mg
  • Magnesium: 26 mg
  • Phosphorus: 48 mg
  • Potassium: 521 mg
  • Sodium: 46 mg
  • Zinc: 0.5 mg
  • Copper: 0.225 mg
  • Manganese: 0.426 mg
  • Vitamin C or ascorbic acid: 27 mg
  • Thiamine or vitamin B1: 0.067 mg
  • Riboflavin or vitamin B2: 0.162 mg
  • Niacin or vitamin B3: 1.114 mg
  • Pantothenic acid or vitamin B5: 0.57 mg
  • Pyridoxine or vitamin B6: 0.149 mg
  • Folate: 62 µg
  • Vitamin A: 337 µg
  • Vitamin E: 2.5 mg
  • Vitamin K 310 µg
  • Beta-carotene: 3930 µg
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin: 865 µg

Coriander: nutritional properties

The nutrients in which coriander is richest are potassium and vitamin K, there is also a huge amount of beta-carotene, antioxidant and precursor of vitamin A. Let’s see the characteristics of these substances.

  • Potassium: in 100 grams of fresh coriander there are 521 mg of potassium. It intervenes in numerous processes, from the regulation of blood pressure to that of heartbeats. It plays a role in acid base balance and muscle contraction. Its presence stimulates diuresis, counteracting water retention;
  • Vitamin K: this vitamin intervenes in the blood clotting process, with an anti-haemorrhagic function. For this reason, people who take anti-coagulant medications need to be careful about taking foods that are high in vitamin K, such as cilantro. In fact, it contains 310 µg per 100 grams;
  • Beta-carotene: Beta-carotene is a very abundant antioxidant in coriander. It is nothing more than a natural pigment that gives color to many fruits and vegetables. Its antioxidant action is expressed against free radicals, of which it inhibits oxidative damage, preserving from cellular aging. Beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A, which is essential to protect the visual function and is involved in the processes of cell growth and repair.

Coriander: health benefits

The particular nutritional characteristics give coriander useful properties to promote digestion, counteract swelling in the belly and reduce cholesterol levels, but not only. Let’s see below all the beneficial properties of coriander.

✓ Stimulates digestion

The dried fruits of coriander have the property of stimulating digestive functions, this is because they increase the production of gastric juices. In addition, they also help to counteract annoying intestinal gas. The ideal would be to consume a decoction after meals, prepared by boiling a teaspoon of fruit in 200 ml of water for 5 minutes.

✓ Has antibacterial and disinfectant properties

In a study, coriander essential oil was shown to exhibit antimicrobial and bactericidal activity by effectively killing pathogenic bacteria related to foodborne disease and hospital infections. For this reason, it can also be used effectively in antibacterial formulations used to disinfect.

✓ Coriander leaf extract has antioxidant activity

The ethanolic extract of coriander leaves exerts an antioxidant action. This is what emerged from a study, in which it was seen how the ethanolic extract of coriander leaves was able to counteract, in laboratory mice, the formation of oxygen free radicals (ROS), considered active in the process of skin aging. Therefore, this coriander extract could be useful for counteracting cellular photo-aging.

✓ Coriander seeds reduce cholesterol levels

In a study, the effect of administering coriander seeds on lipid metabolism in rats fed a diet high in fat and cholesterol was shown. In particular, a decrease in bad cholesterol levels and simultaneously an increase in good cholesterol levels was observed.

✓ Has antifungal activity

Coriander has been shown to have antifungal properties, thanks to the hydrocarbons it contains. In particular, coriander essential oil has been shown to have antimicrobial activity and inhibits the adhesion of the candida fungus to cell substrates, making it a potential candidate in the treatment of oral diseases, such as candidiasis linked to dental prosthesis.

✓ Coriander seed extract reduces blood sugar

In a study, it was shown that administration of coriander seed extract in rats with induced diabetes led to a significant reduction in serum glucose and significantly increased pancreatic beta cell activity.

What Does Coriander Taste Like?

Coriander seeds and coriander leaves have quite different flavors. The seeds have a fresh and aromatic flavor, which can also recall the taste of citrus fruits, while the leaves have a particular and pungent flavor, which can remind a little of that of parsley. However, not everyone likes the taste of coriander leaves, so it is recommended to try it in small doses and evaluate your personal taste.

Coriander: some usage tips

Fresh coriander can be washed under running water, dried on absorbent paper and then stored in the fridge for 10 days. Alternatively, it can be stored in the fridge and washed just before use. Coriander seeds are used in cooking as a spice and have a fresh, aromatic flavor.

In leaves or seeds, this plant can be used to flavor soups, vegetable dishes, legumes, salads, meat or fish. In addition, the EC has approved the use of coriander essential oil for food use, which can be used to flavor dishes of all kinds.

If you want to take advantage of the digestive properties of coriander, you can make an infusion with dried coriander fruits (seeds). To do this, you need to boil a teaspoon of coriander seeds in a cup of water for 5 minutes and then let it rest for 10 minutes, strain and drink. For a greater effect, associations can be made with other ingredients, such as fennel seeds, mallow, lemon balm, mint or cumin.

Coriander: contraindications

Coriander can not be consumed in case of allergy and is also not recommended in pregnancy and breastfeeding, as its safety has not been studied in these cases. Taken in large doses it causes nervous and kidney disorders. Furthermore, coriander interacts with drugs with a neuro-stimulating action, enhancing their effects.


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