If you like cilantro’s fresh, citrusy taste and are starting the keto diet for the first time, you might wonder whether cilantro fits low-carb meal plans.
So, is cilantro keto-friendly?
The short answer is yes, cilantro is keto-friendly. It’s low in carbs and great for cooking regularly in homemade dinners or as a fresh garnish.
In this post, we’ll explore cilantro’s nutritional value and health benefits and how to incorporate this versatile herb into keto-friendly recipes.
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Cilantro vs. Coriander: What Is the Difference?
Cilantro and coriander are two words that are often used interchangeably to mean the same thing, but they actually refer to different parts of the same plant.
The leaves and stems go by cilantro, while coriander typically refers to the seeds. Even so, for our purposes here, we can consider them as the same because they are both low in grams of net carbs and allowed on a keto diet.
Cilantro has a distinct, fresh flavor often used in Mexican, Caribbean, and Asian cuisines. In contrast, coriander seeds have a warm, slightly spicy flavor and are commonly used in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes.
Despite their different flavor profiles, both cilantro and coriander offer unique health benefits and can be a great addition to a ketogenic diet.
How Cilantro Fits Into Your Daily Macros
How many calories are in cilantro? What are the macros?
Let’s take a look.
Cilantro is a low-calorie herb making it a great addition to any healthy weight loss diet.
One cup of chopped cilantro contains approximately five calories, 0.5 grams of protein, 0.1 grams of fat, and one gram of carbohydrates, making it a very low-carb herb.
Even more specifically, one tablespoon of cilantro contains:
- 0 calories
- 0 g fat
- 0 g total carbs
- 0 g fiber
- 0 g net carbs
- 0 g protein
Counting macros and being aware of total carbohydrate in food and your general carb intake is usually pretty important to staying on track with a keto diet and getting the desired results.
However, cilantro is a free food. You can enjoy as much cilantro in keto-friendly meals as you like without any problems.
Cilantro is a great way to add flavor to your food without adding additional carbs. It would take a very large amount (probably an unpalatable amount) to cause an increase in glucose because of the carbs.– Lara Clevenger MSH, RDN, CPT LaraClevenger.com
Potential Health Benefits of Cilantro
Not only is cilantro a tasty herb, but it may also have medicinal properties and offer several potential health benefits.
- Antioxidants – Eating foods with antioxidants seems to help reduce damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals that lead to oxidative stress.
- Lower blood sugar – Animal studies suggest the coriander seeds may help lower blood sugar via enzyme activity.
- Support brain health – Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, cilantro and coriander may protect against memory loss, anxiety, and multiple sclerosis.
How to Use Cilantro in Keto-Friendly Dishes
Whether you like to pick fresh cilantro from the grocery store, farmer’s market, or your own herb garden or favor buying dried cilantro online or from the store, it’s an easy ingredient to work with and compliments many low-carb recipes.
There’s not just one best way to use cilantro, so feel free to be creative.
Here are some tips on incorporating cilantro into your keto meals:
- Use fresh cilantro as a flavorful garnish for salads, soups, and stews.
- Mix cilantro into guacamole or salsa for a burst of fresh flavor.
- Blend cilantro into a green smoothie or juice for a nutrient-packed drink.
- Use cilantro as a topping for grilled meats or roasted vegetables.
- Make a cilantro pesto with garlic, olive oil, and pine nuts.
In conclusion, cilantro is a low-carb herb that can provide various health benefits for those following a keto diet.
With its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, cilantro can help support a healthy keto lifestyle while adding flavor to your meals.
Whether you’re a fan of guacamole, salsa, or pesto, there are plenty of ways to incorporate cilantro into your keto-friendly dishes for the best results and so much flavor.