the herb that loves your liver
Posted by Andrea Nakayama
Oh no, you might say: not cilantro!
When springtime arrives, I like to spotlight the herb that’s prone to digestible dispute.
People either love it or hate it.
It’s met with either adoration or repulsion.
Which camp are you in when it comes to cilantro?
Personally, I don’t remember eating the fresh herb until my young adult years. As a cilantro lover, that’s an atrocity!
I love the crisp texture and the hint of lemon. I enjoy cilantro in salsa, curry, spring rolls, and as a base for pesto. Lately I’ve been using it to make a garlicky chimichurri (recipe below). Yum!
And don’t forget fish tacos! Cilantro makes a fish taco.
But my favorite place for cilantro is my morning green smoothie.
Before you scrunch up your nose, consider that the beauty of cilantro lies not only in its refreshing flavor (for those of us in the love category), but also in its powerful health benefits. Among them are its ability to help transport heavy metals from the body.
Cilantro has been considered the “poor man’s chelation treatment”. And chelation—the removal of heavy metals from the bloodstream—is what we all need right now, as we transition into spring and begin to support the body’s most powerful pathways of detoxification.
Note: I like to do “chelation” the natural way, capturing the body’s innate energies and abilities to detoxify and using foods to support the process.
The liver is your almighty organ of detox.
It’s working overtime to help you sort the pure from the impure.
Yet the liver is one of your body’s major multi-taskers. Just like you, trying to keep pace with modern-day living, your liver is charged with doing the same—all of what it’s meant to do and then some!
Let’s take a peek at the daily grind for your liver…
- it produces and secretes bile to aid in the digestion of fats
- it manages your carbohydrate metabolism, converting excess glucose for storage and later use, and secreting it as needed
- it’s involved in hormonal regulation, breaking down and discarding excess circulating hormones
- it filters the blood, scanning for toxins, destroying and disposing of them
Spring is the season to focus on your liver and adding cilantro to your morning smoothie or Cilantro Chimichurri to your dinner plate (recipe below) is an easy way to start!
You’ve gotta love an herb that supports your liver function.
Chimichurri is traditionally made with parsley but try replacing all (or some) of the parsley with cilantro for a liver loving twist.
This sauce is often used on grilled fish and meat but it’s also divine on roasted veggies, on zoodles or kelp noodles, as a spread in your wraps, or as a tapenade.
This super simple sauce is a delicious ‘dollop of yum’ as Rebecca Katz (author of The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen) likes to say.
- 2 cups cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh lime or lemon juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 fresh jalapeño, seeded, chopped
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
Add garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro to the food processor. Pulse. Add lemon or lime juice, olive oil, cumin, coriander, and salt. Pulse until well combined but slightly chunky. Makes about 1 1/2 cups of yum!
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