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5 Surprising Effects of Eating Cilantro, Say Dietitians

It may not be everyone's preference, but wait until you find out why you should eat it.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Cilantro may be the one herb that divides the world. It's one of those foods that you either love or hate—some love the herbaceous notes it adds to dishes while others say the plant has a soapy or dirt taste. Those who are fans of the edible plant use both its leaves and dried seeds for garnishing and seasoning their food.

If you're on the side of the non-cilantro eaters, you may want to reconsider finding ways to incorporate it into your recipes. It turns out that this herby plant may give you some stellar benefits. We spoke with The Nutrition Twins, Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, and, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, authors of The Nutrition Twins' Veggie Cure and members of our medical expert board, to find out what those benefits are. Read on, and for more, don't miss One Major Effect of Eating Kale, Says Dietitian.

It may help to prevent the leading killer in the US.

heart disease stethoscope health

"Heart disease is the leading cause of death in this country, and cilantro helps to fight it by raise the body's 'good' HDL cholesterol, even while lowering 'bad' LDL cholesterol," says The Nutrition Twins.

Not only that, but the Twins also suggest that cilantro helps in lowering high blood pressure by acting as a diuretic.

"Both high LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure are risk factors for cardiovascular disease," they say.

It may help to turn back the clock.

Woman looks anti-aging

The Nutrition Twins state that cilantro is a good source of antioxidants. These antioxidants help to slow the aging process. This includes slowing the visible signs of aging by mopping up free radicals that cause cell damage.

"Research shows that cilantro may even help to protect the skin from the sun's harmful rays and protect against photoaging," says The Nutrition Twins. "Of course, this would require regular cilantro intake to consistently get enough antioxidants to make a difference."

 The #1 Best Food To Eat Daily To Slow Aging, Says Dietitian

It may help to fight off diabetes.

Diabetes prick check

In research published in the British Journal of Nutrition, cilantro has been shown to stimulate an enzyme that removes sugar from the blood and appears to have an insulin-like activity.

"Cilantro works so well to lower blood sugar that people who are on blood sugar-lowering medication and people with low blood sugar are warned about cilantro having the same effects," says The Nutrition Twins.

Foods That Can Decrease Your Diabetes Risk, Says Dietitian

It may help to reduce anxiety.

woman in pink shirt is relaxed as she stretches outside

Along with tea and meditation, there's a new method in town to reduce anxiety.

It seems that cilantro may be a powerful source when in need of a calming effect by helping to reduce anxiety symptoms. This includes heart palpitations, sweating, irritability, chest pain, rapid breathing, and muscle tightening.

"Research shows that cilantro increased levels of the body's feel-good/anti-anxiety chemicals, dopamine and noradrenaline, in all brain regions, while the prescription anti-anxiety drug Diazepam increased the same brain chemicals only in the hippocampus," says The Nutrition Twins.

It may protect against cancer.

cancer awareness ribbons and stethoscope

As stated in findings posted in the Journal of Food Sciences, cooking with cilantro seeds, also known as coriander seeds, has been shown to lower levels of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) in fried beef patties. "HCAs are formed when meats are cooked at high temperatures," says The Nutrition Twins.

"[These byproducts] have been linked to an increased risk of cancer," they explain. So next time you plan on searing some meat, consider seasoning it with a sprinkling of cilantro!

Kayla Garritano
Kayla Garritano graduated from Hofstra University, where she majored in Journalism and double minored in Marketing and Creative Writing. Read more about Kayla