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Nutrition Spotlight: Cilantro

In the world of herbs and spices, none may be more widely used in cooking than cilantro. These fragrant leaves actually come from the coriander plant, which is native to the European-Mediterranean region but currently planted all over the world. Cilantro is extremely versatile – while it is typically found in Asian cuisine, you can also find the herb served as a garnish in tacos, salads and blended in juices.

Like most culinary herbs, cilantro has been used in many countries in traditional medicine to treat various health conditions, like inflammation, anxiety, insomnia, and digestive issues. Unfortunately, we can’t give cilantro credit for being able to treat these conditions, as there’s not enough supported evidence to do so. But the plant definitely has some nutritional benefits that can’t be disputed. Cilantro is extremely low in calories, with essentially no fat or sugar. For those who are mindful of their salt intake, cooking with cilantro is a great way to add flavor to a dish without adding sodium. The herb contains vitamins and minerals like vitamin A and potassium, though in relatively small amounts. Finally, spices like cilantro contain polyphenols – compounds with antioxidant properties that may help protect us from various diseases.

So the next time you’re making…really anything, sprinkle a handle of cilantro into your dish. You’ll not only enhance the flavor of your food, but you’ll add extra nutrients to your diet. And who doesn’t want that?