Cilantro–also known as coriander–is one of those love-me-or-hate-me herbs. People either adore its distinct, fresh taste, or can’t stand to look at it (“It tastes like dirt!” certain cilantro-haters cry). It’s not just for tacos, either; cilantro is a popular component in Asian and Indian cuisine, although it’s usually referred to as coriander or Chinese parsley. If you’re game to try this controversial flavor profile in something sweet, there are plenty of health benefits to doing so.
Cilantro is thought to help your body rid itself of toxic heavy metal build-up, caused by bad boys like mercury, lead, aluminum, and cadmium. Wondering if you’ve picked up some heavy metals along the way? Here’s just a sampling of the ways in which heavy metals can invade your life:
- fish from polluted water
- non-natural deodorants (which boast high percentages of aluminum)
- cigarette smoke
- non-organic foods sprayed with pesticides and fertilizers
- foods cooked in aluminum foil
Cilantro is also one of the best herbal sources of vitamin K, which helps build bone mass and limit the brain damage from Alzheimer’s disease. And that’s not cilantro’s only nutrient: it’s got about 225% of your daily vitamin A in every 100 grams; good minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium; and key vitamins like vitamin C, folic acid, riboflavin, and niacin.
Blend up cilantro with vitamin C-heavy pineapple, a creamy avocado to counteract some of that pineapple sugar, some pH-balancing lime, and a generous amount of greens. Wash the cilantro right before you use it, since it’s a delicate herb. Place only the cilantro you’re using into a bowl of cold water and gently swish around to loosen any dirt. This punchy cilantro-pineapple flavor will mentally transport you to the beach faster than a first class airline ticket.
Pineapple-Cilantro Green Smoothie with Avocado and Ginger
3/4 cup water
1 cup greens
1 cup fresh pineapple
1/4-1/2 avocado (cover the rest in plastic wrap and keep in your fridge until your next smoothie craving hits)
1/2-inch fresh ginger
optional: a few slices of jalapeño or habañero pepper
Blend cilantro, greens, water, and ginger until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend.
Intrigued by the concept of blending up herbs with your kale? Check out our other Herbal Green Smoothies recipes, featuring Rosemary, Basil, Dill, Mint, and Parsley. You’ll be surprised to find out what little nutrient powerhouses herbs are–they’re definitely more than just garnishes!
photo attribute: Jeffrey Collingwood