Parsley and coriander are two of the most popular herbs used in cooking worldwide. Both pack a nutritional punch and offer an array of potential health benefits. This article reviews the nutrition, health benefits, downsides and culinary uses of parsley and coriander to help you determine if they’re right for you.
Parsley and coriander are very low in calories but contain an impressive amount of nutrients. Here is the nutrition information for 1/4 cup (10 grams) of fresh parsley and coriander:
As you can see, parsley and coriander are low in calories but contain decent amounts of fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A and folate.
Here are some of the top evidence-based health benefits associated with consuming parsley and coriander:
Rich in Antioxidants
Both parsley and coriander contain various antioxidants, including luteolin, apigenin, lycopene and alpha-carotene (1, 2). Antioxidants help neutralize unstable molecules called free radicals that can damage cells and contribute to chronic disease (3).
May Promote Heart Health
Parsley and coriander contain many nutrients that support heart health. For instance, they’re good sources of vitamin K, which helps blood clot and protects your arteries (4). They also provide flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants that may reduce heart disease risk (5).
Could Reduce Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is involved in many diseases. Parsley and coriander contain various anti-inflammatory compounds like apigenin, luteolin and beta-carotene (6, 7). Test-tube and animal studies show these anti-inflammatory properties may translate to health benefits in humans (8, 9).
May Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Animal and test-tube studies indicate that parsley and coriander may reduce blood sugar levels and prevent complications related to diabetes (10, 11). However, human research is lacking.
Could Protect Against Cancer
Test-tube and animal studies have found that certain compounds in parsley and coriander exhibit anticancer effects. Apigenin, a flavonoid in both herbs, has been shown to inhibit tumor growth in a rat study (12). Human studies are needed.
May Promote Digestive Health
Parsley acts as a diuretic and helps your body get rid of toxins. This effect may boost digestive health (13). Additionally, herbs like parsley and coriander have been used in folk medicine to treat digestive issues like bloating, gas and stomach cramps.
May Strengthen Your Bones
Parsley and coriander are excellent sources of vitamin K. Getting enough of this vitamin improves calcium absorption and promotes bone health (14). Fresh parsley also provides vitamin C and copper, two micronutrients important for collagen production and bone mineralization (15, 16).
May Boost Immunity
Parsley and coriander are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, carotenoids and flavonoids that help strengthen your immune defenses (17). Coriander, in particular, has been used to treat inflammatory conditions, which often occur when your immune system is impaired.
Consuming parsley and coriander is typically safe. However, some people may want to moderate their intake due to the following downsides:
Oxalates can bind to calcium and increase your risk of kidney stones. Those with a history of kidney stones may want to limit oxalate-rich foods like parsley, coriander and their extracted oils (18).
Parsley allergies are rare but can cause severe reactions for some, including anaphylaxis. Coriander allergies are also uncommon (19, 20).
Due to their diuretic effects, parsley and coriander may interfere with lithium and certain heart medications. Speak to your healthcare provider before increasing your intake if taking any prescriptions (21, 22).
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Parsley is safe in food amounts during pregnancy but should be avoided in medicinal amounts, as it can stimulate contractions. Coriander is likely safe in normal food quantities but always check with your healthcare provider (23).
How to Use Parsley and Coriander
Here are some simple ways to use parsley and coriander to benefit from their nutrients:
Add Them to Recipes
Parsley and coriander both work well in a variety of dishes. Add them to soups, salads, marinades, dressings and more.
Make Herb Oil
Infuse olive oil or avocado oil with parsley or coriander. Drizzle over finished dishes.
Blend into Smoothies
Add a handful of parsley or coriander to your morning smoothie for a burst of flavor and nutrients.
Soak parsley leaves or coriander seeds in hot water to make a healing tea.
Top Off Omelets
Add chopped parsley or coriander on top of your morning omelet for extra nutrients.
Combine with Lemon
Pair parsley or coriander with lemon wedges for a tangy, refreshing combo.
Finely chop and sprinkle over finished soups before serving for a pop of color and flavor.
The Bottom Line
Parsley and coriander are incredibly healthy herbs brimming with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Adding them to your diet may benefit heart health, blood sugar control, digestion, immunity and more.
Both herbs can be easily incorporated into many recipes. Yet, those with kidney issues or certain allergies may want to moderate their intake.
Incorporating small amounts of parsley, coriander or both into a balanced diet can be an effective strategy to enhance your nutrient intake and potentially safeguard your health.