How Cilantro Can Help You Detox
Average reading time: 2 minutes
Cilantro has a reputation as one of the world’s most polarizing herbs. Some of us love its pungent and citrusy leaves. Some of us equate it with eating hand sanitizer. For those of you who think cilantro tastes like soap, apologies and have a nice day. For the rest of you, I think you’d better read this.
WHY SHOULD WE CARE ABOUT CILANTRO AND THE THYROID?
Did you know that cilantro is a powerful detoxifying herb? Or that it can help stabilize blood sugar, fight infection, protect the heart, reduce anxiety and help you sleep? These are just a few of the benefits which abound in both Cilantro (aka Chinese Parsley) and the seed form of cilantro, commonly referred to as coriander.
UP NEXT: SUPPORTING YOUR LIVER AND KIDNEYS WITH 8 DETOXIFYING FOODS
In this article, we’re going to focus on the natural chelating abilities of cilantro. Heavy metal toxicity in the body (from substances like lead, mercury, aluminum, cadmium, and arsenic) is closely intertwined with our thyroid health.
How Heavy Metals Accumulate in the Body
Heavy metals set up camp in our tissues, where they get stored along with other toxins. Our thyroid metabolizes things quickly; therefore, more toxins pass through it. Sometimes those toxins are so chemically similar to iodine, that the thyroid absorbs them.
Heavy metals are everywhere—the air, the water, the soil. They are an unavoidable part of the Earth we call mother and home.
One major source of heavy metal pollution is the burning of coal and fossil fuels, which puts stuff like mercury into our environment. Those toxic metals make their way into our bodies through the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink. As the world becomes exponentially more populated and polluted, heavy metals increase in our environment, and therefore our bodies. Health issues like autoimmune-related thyroid disorders are part of that great web. It’s all inter-connected: our planet, our diet, and our well-being.
THE LINK BETWEEN MERCURY AND THYROID ANTIBODIES
The presence of thyroid antibodies can be an indicator of Hashimoto’s (autoimmune hypothyroidism) or Graves’ Disease (autoimmune hyperthyroidism). Doctor’s don’t know what causes the immune system to attack the thyroid; therefore, effective treatment can vary greatly from patient to patient. Potential triggers include (but are not limited to) genetics, viruses, bacteria, and estrogen fluctuations. There are also environmental triggers, like mercury exposure. Studies have shown a direct link between mercury exposure and an increase in thyroid antibodies.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO MINIMIZE OUR MERCURY LEVELS?
For starters, we can minimize our exposure to heavy metals by filtering our drinking water, avoiding mercury amalgam fillings, avoiding smoking, and carefully selecting which types of fish to consume. This is good practice for anyone, especially children.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch is an amazing resource for consumers. Their handy wallet cards can help us make choices that are healthy for both our bodies, and for fish populations. Click here to find a printable consumer guide for your state, outlining which seafood choices are lower in mercury. They offer specific recommendations for sushi if you’re into that, and they even have an app.
We can also add things to our diet that help remove toxic metals from the body like turmeric and—you guessed it—cilantro! Yay, cilantro!
This medical study provides evidence that cilantro can accelerate the body’s urinary excretion of mercury and lead from the body. Another study showed that lead levels in tissues were significantly decreased in laboratory mice by administering coriander.
The takeaway: Incorporating more cilantro into our diets can help support the body’s natural detox pathways.
HOW CAN I INCORPORATE MORE CILANTRO INTO MY DIET?
Cilantro can be so much more than just a garnish. Check out these mouth-watering Thyroid Refresh recipes,which make it easy to add cilantro to your thyroid-friendly diet.
- Chicken Cilantro – This recipe takes the cake as far as cilantro-centric cooking goes.
- Thai Chicken Soup with Coconut Milk – This delicious soup is quick and easy to make.
- Hearty AIP Breakfast Bowl – Packed with anti-inflammatory goodness, this breakfast soup will get you ready to take on the day.
- 🔒 Sticky Garlic & Lime Salmon with Raw Coconut Chutney – Cilantro is added to the chutney as a delicious cooling complement to the salmon.
I hope you’ve found some food for thought here, and a little added inspiration to load up on that garnish.