Can I Eat Coriander While Pregnant? Benefits And Risks?

Herbs are a common inclusion in our diets because they enhance the flavor and aroma of the foods we consume. Among the most commonly used herbs that form the foundation of numerous recipes are dill, mint leaves, parsley, coriander leaves, and basil. Coriander leaves, in particular, are highly esteemed in Indian cuisine for their robust and distinctive flavor that sets them apart from other ingredients. However, it is essential to understand the benefits and precautions associated with the foods you consume during pregnancy. Let’s explore everything you need to know about incorporating coriander leaves into your diet while pregnant.

Coriander leaves are readily available and can be used in salads or as a garnish for a wide variety of dishes. They serve as a popular garnish in many Indian culinary creations and are used frequently in everyday cooking. Coriander seeds can also be found in various dishes, including roasted meats, baked goods, pickled vegetables, and other culinary preparations. When blended with ingredients like peanuts, coconut milk, garlic, and lemon juice, coriander can serve as a flavorful base for marinades. Read on to discover the advantages and potential disadvantages of adding coriander leaves to your pregnancy diet.

Can I Eat Coriander While Pregnant? Benefits And Risks?
Can I Eat Coriander While Pregnant? Benefits And Risks?

What is Coriander?

Coriander, also known as cilantro in some regions, is an herb commonly used in culinary preparations around the world. It belongs to the parsley family and is known for its vibrant green leaves and small, round seeds, both of which are used in cooking.

– Coriander Leaves: The leaves of the coriander plant are often referred to as cilantro. These leaves have a fresh, citrusy flavor and are widely used as a garnish or ingredient in salads, salsas, curries, soups, and various dishes. They add a unique and refreshing taste to many cuisines, particularly in Asian, Latin American, and Indian cooking.

– Coriander Seeds: The seeds of the coriander plant have a different flavor profile compared to the leaves. They have a warm, nutty, and slightly citrusy taste. Coriander seeds are often ground and used as a spice in cooking, contributing to the flavor of curries, stews, sausages, pickles, and baked goods. These seeds are a common ingredient in various spice blends and curry powders.

Coriander is a versatile herb that plays a significant role in enhancing the taste and aroma of numerous dishes, making it a staple in many cuisines worldwide. It is also appreciated for its potential health benefits, as it contains essential nutrients and antioxidants.

Is It Safe to Consume Coriander Leaves During Pregnancy?

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), consuming coriander leaves during pregnancy is considered safe, provided that they are ingested in typical culinary quantities (as opposed to concentrated medicinal forms), and proper hygiene measures are observed during food preparation.

Coriander is known for its diverse properties, including being antidiabetic, antimutagenic, antimicrobial, hypnotic, sedative, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, diuretic, and sleep-inducing. It is also rich in vitamins and antioxidants and has demonstrated the ability to lower cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar. Additionally, coriander seeds, derived from the coriander plant, are commonly used in cooking and are generally not regarded as a risk for pregnant women.

Many experienced family members often advise including coriander leaves in a pregnant woman’s diet. One of the unique features of this herb is its potential to facilitate the removal of heavy metals from the body.

During pregnancy, there is a concern about toxic heavy metals like mercury, lead, and cadmium, which can cross the placenta and accumulate in fetal tissues. Exposure to these metals while pregnant may increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, or giving birth to a child with birth defects. They can also potentially impact a baby’s brain development.

Can You Eat Cilantro While Pregnant?

Coriander leaves, like many other herbs, are commonly used as a garnish to enhance the color and flavor of various dishes. Fresh herbs, including cilantro, are typically consumed without undergoing a “kill step” process, such as cooking.

The term “kill step” refers to the procedure used to deactivate potentially harmful pathogens in a food product, which is crucial for food safety. This “kill step” typically involves processes like cooking, pasteurization, the use of pathogen-killing washes, or irradiation.

Since herbs like cilantro are grown in soil, they are susceptible to contamination from bacteria and parasites present in irrigation water and soil. Consumption of food contaminated with these microorganisms can lead to foodborne illnesses. Pregnant women, in particular, are not only more susceptible to foodborne illnesses but may also face increased risks during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, a woman’s immune system is somewhat suppressed, which can lead to more severe or prolonged symptoms if she contracts a foodborne illness. In some cases, this could potentially result in premature birth or miscarriage. While there is currently no specific warning against consuming raw cilantro during pregnancy, it is advisable for expectant mothers to exercise caution when consuming coriander leaves and other fresh herbs, considering the potential risks associated with foodborne pathogens.

Nutritional Value of Coriander Leaves

Coriander leaves, also known as cilantro, are a nutritional powerhouse. They are a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals. In a single serving of coriander leaves, you’ll find a diverse array of nutrients that contribute to your overall health. Here’s a breakdown of the nutrition facts for 100 grams of coriander leaves:

– Calories: 23 kcal

– Protein: 2.1 grams

– Carbohydrates: 3.67 grams

– Fat: 0.7 grams

– Calcium: 67 mg

– Potassium: 521 mg

– Iron: 1.8 mg

– Dietary Fiber: 4.7 grams

– Vitamin C: 24 mg

– Vitamin A: 635 mg

– Vitamin K: 310 mcg

These nutritional components make coriander leaves a valuable addition to your diet. Additionally, coriander leaves contain 11 different essential oils, which contribute to their distinctive aroma and flavor. They are also notably low in saturated fat. Coriander leaves further provide health benefits due to their linoleic acid content. These nutritional properties underline the value of incorporating coriander leaves into your culinary creations for both taste and health benefits.

Advantages of Coriander Leaves for Pregnant Women

Coriander leaves, like numerous other herbs and spices, offer a range of health benefits that are especially significant for expectant mothers. These prenatal-friendly vitamins, macro-elements, and micro-elements are present in coriander leaves in beneficial amounts due to the plant’s distinctive chemical composition:

– Vitamin A (beta carotene)

– Folic acid

– Vitamin K

– Potassium

Incorporating coriander leaves into your diet during pregnancy can result in several health advantages, including the following:

Benefits of Coriander Leaves During Pregnancy

Enhances Immune System

Coriander leaves are a rich source of vitamins C and E, working in synergy with vitamin A to strengthen the immune system. Vitamin C aids iron absorption and boosts white blood cell function, offering protection against infections.

Promotes Bone Health

Pregnancy can affect a woman’s bone density, potentially leading to future osteoporosis. Coriander leaves provide calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin K, supporting bone health, healing, and protection against bone-related issues.

Blood Sugar Control

Coriander leaves have anti-diabetic properties, potentially aiding in blood sugar regulation. Antioxidants in coriander stimulate insulin secretion, potentially benefiting women with gestational diabetes or high blood sugar.

Infection Resistance

Coriander’s antibacterial properties can help prevent and treat infections. Compounds like dodecenal show promise in battling Salmonella, and coriander oil’s antibacterial qualities can complement other antimicrobials to combat foodborne illnesses.

Cholesterol Regulation

Regular consumption of coriander leaves may reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol. Studies indicate that it can increase HDL cholesterol and lower total cholesterol levels, especially beneficial for pregnant women experiencing elevated cholesterol levels.

Cardiovascular Health

Coriander extract shows potential as a diuretic, aiding in the removal of excess water and sodium, which can help lower blood pressure. Coriander’s use in seasoning reduces the need for salt, contributing to healthy blood pressure levels during pregnancy.

Gut Health Improvement

Coriander leaves are high in fiber, offering relief from common digestive issues during pregnancy, including bloating, nausea, gas, and bowel spasms. They hold promise for enhancing gastrointestinal health.

Skin Health Benefits

Coriander leaves, with their iron, vitamin E, and vitamin A content, protect the skin from free radicals. They are useful for addressing skin issues like acne, dry skin, and oily skin. Coriander’s oil-absorbent, antimicrobial, antiseptic, and antifungal properties can rejuvenate the skin.

Additional Benefits of Coriander Leaves

Incorporating coriander into your diet is akin to adding a multivitamin due to its extensive range of benefits. Coriander offers numerous advantages for your health, including, but not limited to:

– Digestive Health: Coriander stimulates liver function and supports regular bowel movements, making it excellent for digestion, especially if you experience constipation.

– Alzheimer’s Disease: Coriander leaves are rich in vitamin K, which can be beneficial in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

– Anti-Cancer Properties: The presence of fat-soluble vitamin A and antioxidants in coriander leaves contributes to its potential anti-cancer properties.

– Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Coriander is well-documented for its anti-inflammatory properties, making it valuable for conditions like arthritis.

– Antiseptic Use: Due to its antiseptic qualities, coriander can be employed to treat mouth ulcers.

– Eye Health: The antioxidants in coriander benefit eye health, and it can serve as a remedy for conditions like conjunctivitis.

– Nervous System Support: Coriander is an excellent herb for supporting the nervous system and may increase memory capacity.

– Anemia Treatment: High iron content in coriander is crucial for treating anemia, making it helpful for those with this condition.

Risks of Consuming Coriander Leaves During Pregnancy

The risks associated with consuming coriander leaves during pregnancy stem from its antiplatelet or anticoagulant properties. These properties may reduce platelets’ ability to clot blood, increasing the risk of bleeding. Pregnant women should be cautious with foods or substances that can potentially lead to bleeding.

Cilantro is high in sodium, so if you are aiming to reduce salt intake during pregnancy, it’s advisable to limit cilantro consumption.

Despite the health benefits, it’s best to use coriander leaves sparingly during pregnancy, not exceeding 10 grams per day and avoiding daily consumption due to its hemostatic properties. Coriander extract is more potent and should be avoided throughout pregnancy.

For individuals with respiratory issues, excessive coriander leaf consumption may exacerbate symptoms and potentially lead to acute breathing problems or even contribute to chronic lung diseases like asthma. Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to coriander leaves, manifesting as mouth redness and nasopharynx swelling.


In the context of the growing interest in healthier dietary choices and a greater emphasis on leafy greens and salads, coriander leaves can be a part of a safe and nutritious diet during pregnancy when prepared and consumed in accordance with standard food safety guidelines. However, like any herb, excessive consumption of coriander leaves during pregnancy should be avoided to prevent potential adverse effects. Moderation is key for ensuring a balanced and healthful pregnancy.


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