Wellness Nutrition Health Benefits of Cilantro The herb offers essential nutrients like vitamins A, C, and K antioxidants. By Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD's Facebook Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD's Instagram Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD's Twitter Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD's Website Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she's Health's contributing nutrition editor and counsels clients one-on-one through her virtual private practice. Cynthia is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics and has consulted for five professional sports teams, including five seasons with the New York Yankees. She is currently the nutrition consultant for UCLA's Executive Health program. Sass is also a three-time New York Times best-selling author and Certified Plant Based Professional Cook. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook, or visit www.CynthiaSass.com. health's editorial guidelines Updated on May 22, 2023 Medically reviewed by Allison Herries, RDN Medically reviewed by Allison Herries, RDN Allison Herries, RDN, is a registered dietitian for a telehealth company. In her role, she provides nutrition education and counseling to help her clients set and reach their personal health goals. learn more Share this page on Facebook Share this page on Twitter Share this page on Pinterest Email this page Getty Images Cilantro, known scientifically as Coriandrum sativum L., are the leaves of the coriander plant. It's a bright green herb commonly used in cuisines around the globe from Mexico to the Middle East. Besides its somewhat citrusy, peppery flavor—to most people anyway—cilantro is added to dishes for its potential health perks like having antioxidants and vitamins that support bone and immune system function. Read on to learn more. A Good Source of Nutrients In addition to color and flavor, cilantro adds nutrition to your plate. A quarter cup of raw cilantro leaves—about the size of a golf ball—provides 16% of the daily recommended value of vitamin K. Vitamin K supports bone health. Cilantro also offers 5% and 2% of the daily recommended vitamin A and C values, respectively. Those vitamins are essential for immune function. Contains Antioxidants Beyond its vitamin value, cilantro also offers important compounds called antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that may prevent or delay certain types of cell damage. While cilantro has many antioxidants, polyphenols are particularly significant. Polyphenols are antioxidants that may reduce inflammation. Polyphenols may also prevent cell damage that could contribute to premature aging and an increased risk of chronic diseases. Nutrition of Cilantro In a quarter cup of cilantro, there are the following: Calories: <1 calorieFat: <1 gramSodium: 1.84 gramsCarbohydrates: <1 gramFiber: <1 gramProtein: <1 gram Risks of Cilantro In general, cilantro has very few downsides, especially regarding nutrition content. However, some people may want to avoid cilantro. Allergic Reactions Can Happen A cilantro allergy is not a common food allergy. However, it's possible to be or become allergic to cilantro, as any allergy to food can happen at any time. It May Not Taste Good to Everyone A genetic variant—a permanent change to your DNA—may make you highly sensitive to the smell of a compound in cilantro called aldehydes. Since smell and taste are closely linked, that genetic variant can make the fresh, citrusy herb taste like soap or dirt. Raw Cilantro May Contain Bacteria Because cilantro is often consumed raw, it poses the risk of bacterial contamination you would otherwise have killed through cooking. If you're at a higher risk of developing a more severe illness due to foodborne bacteria, you should talk to a healthcare provider about whether you should cook cilantro. People with a higher risk include those who: Are pregnantAre over 65Have a medical condition that weakens their immune system Tips for Consuming Cilantro If you're looking to bump your intake of antioxidants and vitamins, garnishing dishes with raw cilantro or cooking dishes with the herb is for you. The key is to have fun experimenting with ways cilantro can freshen up a dish. You can: Incorporate it in pico de gallo, pesto, chutney, and drinks Sprinkle it atop guacamole, salads, beans, stir-fries, soups, fish, or curries Try pairing roasted corn with chopped cilantro and fresh lime A Quick Review Cilantro is part of the coriander plant that comes with nutrients like vitamin K and antioxidants. It's also a low-calorie, low-fat, and low-sodium herb. Though it does have its benefits, cilantro does come with downsides. For example, some people may not like the taste of the herb in their food, and it's possible to be allergic to cilantro. If you want to try the herb, you can use it in a variety of dishes from salads and soups to salsa and stir-fries. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit 11 Sources Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Singletary K. Coriander: overview of potential health benefits. Nutr Today. 2016;51(3):151-161. doi:10.1097/NT.0000000000000159 US Department of Agriculture FoodData Central. Coriander (cilantro) leaves, raw. Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin K - fact sheet for consumers. Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin C - fact sheet for health professionals. Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin A and carotenoids - fact sheet for health professionals. Mahleyuddin NN, Moshawih S, Ming LC, et al. Coriandrum sativum l. : a review on ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry, and cardiovascular benefits. Molecules. 2021;27(1):209. doi:10.3390/molecules27010209 Fraga CG, Croft KD, Kennedy DO, Tomás-Barberán FA. The effects of polyphenols and other bioactives on human health. Food Funct. 2019;10(2):514-528. doi:10.1039/c8fo01997e American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. Food allergy. Robino A, Concas MP, Catamo E, Gasparini P. A brief review of genetic approaches to the study of food preferences: current knowledge and future directions. Nutrients. 2019;11(8):1735. doi:10.3390/nu11081735 US Food and Drug Administration. Microbiological surveillance sampling: FY18-21 fresh herbs (cilantro, basil & parsley) assignment. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fruit and vegetable safety.