Spring is an ideal time to help boost the body’s ability to detoxify from the accumulation of excesses from winter months as well as to create energy and lightness for the summer months ahead. While the body is naturally capable of detoxifying, our diet can help the body release toxins like heavy metals, food additives and environmental contaminants from storage in our fat cells and enhance our detoxification pathways and organs (think: liver and kidneys).
You may benefit from enhanced detoxification if you are currently feeling sluggish or suffering from headaches, fatigue, mood swings, anxiety, constipation or feel like you have stubborn health symptoms like itchy skin or joint pain. Foods and beverages that can help us detoxify are those that not only help release the toxins from storage but also help the body excrete them quickly before they can cause further damage.
Cilantro: Flavorful, Super Cleansing Agent
Cilantro, the herb we often find flavoring salsas and Mexican dishes, has been shown to be a lot more than just a flavorful seasoning but a powerful detoxifier. For one thing, cilantro has been shown to protect the body from heavy metal deposition and other dietary toxins that can potentially impact neurological function, hormone imbalances and digestive function. Cilantro has also been shown to be anti-microbial and anti-bacterial and contain powerful phytonutrients including vitamin K and small amounts of folate, potassium, manganese, and choline, as well as the antioxidants beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Pairing cilantro with chlorella has been shown to compound cilantro’s detoxifying effects.
Using Cilantro in Your Kitchen and Cooking
Cilantro is delicate and should be handled carefully to avoid losing some of its powerful health benefits. I have found the best way to store cilantro from the Vegetable Gardner is to snip the stems, place in a jar of water, cover with a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. When you are ready to use it, you can swish it in a bowl of cool water to allow any sand or dirt to dislodge, repeating if necessary with fresh water and pat dry gently with a kitchen towel.
Cilantro makes an exceptional seasoning in Mexican or Thai dishes as well as when paired ith beans, eggs, and fish. Cilantro is also great sprinkled in dips, dressings and salsas as well as a topping or garnish for soups and salads. Or try my protein-packed cilantro pesto which is great with veggies, soups, grilled meats and eggs.