Adding tons of fresh herbs and spices to every meal is my own little everyday act of self-care. Fresh, naturally grown herbs are packed with tons of health benefits, and adding them here or there to your meals will soon have you reaping the many benefits of all that natural healthcare. Summertime comes with a lot of festive meals and busy schedules, which can all lead to a lot of digestive upset. Luckily, we have a wonderfully flavorful herb right in our own backyard that helps with a lot of GI discomfort: cilantro.
Cilantro has a predominantly cooling and grounding influence and has been known to contribute to detoxification pathways within the body by way of stimulating the liver. By stimulating the liver and increasing bile production, cilantro helps contribute to the overall lowering of bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels. While cilantro helps lower bad cholesterol, it also helps increase good cholesterol, which then helps with the transport and elimination of harmful fats and oils. If the summer fiesta is getting a little heavy, just add some cilantro to your favorite patio meal for a little digestive support as well as a pretty effective antidote to nausea.
As a cooling herb, cilantro helps counterbalance excess heat and inflammation, such as hives, rashes, sunburn, and acne. Cilantro leaf extract has also been found to help support healthy blood sugar levels and thus has been seen as helpful in preventing the development of type 2 diabetes. It does this by increasing both the production and the efficacy of insulin, which removes excessive levels of glucose from the bloodstream. Cilantro has also been found to help fight off sugar cravings by helping the liver to convert excess glucose into storable energy reserves known as glycogen, which further helps balance blood sugar to healthy levels.
Cilantro is best used fresh and raw in sauces, pestos, salads, and salsas as it can easily lose its aromatic properties from cooking, drying, and freezing. It’s not uncommon that cilantro accompanies spicy foods. This is actually the perfect match for cilantro due to its previously mentioned cooling effect! My favorite summertime cilantro additions include cilantro pesto, mixed into a spicy black bean salad, or even in lemonade. How do you like to use cilantro?