With their crunchy texture, pleasant zesty flavor and incredible health benefits, coriander seeds are a true gem in the treasury of spices. No Indian kitchen can do without them, and the cuisines of the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean regions makes generous use of coriander seeds.
Take a look at the bouquet of health benefits you can reap by using just a few coriander seeds in your food:
- Coriander seeds contain several vital volatile oils and fatty acids that give them their distinctive taste and healing benefits.
- Studies show that coriander seeds can lower serum LDL cholesterol levels, if consumed regularly.
- While several other dry spices lack in vitamin C, coriander seeds contain an ample amount of this vitamin. Just 100 g of dry seeds provide 21 mg or 35 percent of RDI of vitamin C.
- The seeds are an excellent source of minerals like iron, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and magnesium. Copper is essential for the production of red blood cells. Iron regulates cell metabolism and promotes red blood cell formation. Zinc is a component of many enzymes that regulate growth, help digestion and boost energy. Potassium plays a vital role in regulating heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese neutralizes free radicals and guards bone health.
- A 2011 study published in the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology states that coriander seeds have great potential as an adjunct therapy of diabetes, thanks to their antioxidant content and their ability to normalize blood glucose.
- For centuries, coriander seeds have been used to bring relief from digestive disorders. Their antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and carminative properties make them a valuable spice in Ayurvedic healing. My grandmother would prepare an infusion of coriander and fennel seeds boiled in water to ease stomach ache and cramps, and it worked wonders for me every time!
- Chewing on coriander seeds helps get rid of bad breath.
- Apply a paste of coriander seeds and honey to itchy skin—you will feel immediate relief, thanks to the linoleic acid in the seeds.
- Coriander contains an antibacterial compound that may prove to be a safe, natural means of fighting Salmonella, the deadly bacteria that causes foodborne illness, according to a study published in the June 2004 issue of the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
Above all, coriander seeds are an easy way to wake up a “sleepy” dish! My favorite way to enjoy coriander seeds (their Hindi name is dhaniya) is to crush them lightly, and roast them for a minute or so until they release their wonderful warm aroma. I then toss them into potato curry along with other spices such as turmeric powder, cayenne pepper and cumin seeds. They also add their pleasant spicy flavor to dal, soups and stir fries. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of whole coriander seeds into bread, fritter or savory pancake batter, and you will be rewarded with a lovely peppery flavor.