Food EducationHealth

6 Surprising Health Benefits of Dill

Dill is a wonderful herb to add to your diet. The health benefits of dill range from improved digestion to free-radical protection and headache prevention. It contains numerous plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing, health promoting properties due to the high antioxidant content. The antioxidants in dill, called monoterpenes (carbone, limonene, & anethofuran) and flavonoids (kaempferol & vicenin) provide dill with its unique health benefits.

Digestive Aid

Dill has been used for ages by the Greeks and Romans to help relieve upset stomachs and help promote digestion. Traditional Chinese physicians used dill as a digestive aid for over 1,000 years! The oil in dill contain the compound carvone which helps relieve gas and upset stomachs. It also helps to stimulate the bile and digestive juices in the stomach and helps promote the peristaltic motion of the intestine which pushes food through the digestive tract.

Free Radical Protection

Free radicals are what cause a body to develop disease and illness, particularly cancer. The enzyme glutathione-S-transferase helps attach the antioxidant molecule glutathione to oxidized molecules that normally do damage in the body. It has been shown that monoterpenes in dill help activate this enzyme, and thus prevent free radicals from attacking our cells. It is considered a “chemoprotective” food, that helps to neutralize carcinogens we acquire from our environment and food.

Anti-Bacterial

Carvone in dill has both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal activity. They have been shown to be effective against a wide spectrum of human pathogenic fungi and bacteria, especially in the form of dill essential oil

High in Calcium

Dill is incredibly high in calcium and thus helps support and protect our bones and teeth. 100 grams of dill contains over 1800 mg of calcium. Individuals who consume low levels of calcium and a high protein diet are often prone to developing osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Reducing the amount of protein you eat (which puts the body in a state of acidity, and leeches out minerals from your bones to help neutralize the acid), and increasing the amount of high calcium plant-based foods you consume can help prevent you from developing future bone disorders.

Calming Effect

The essential oils in dill, particularly carvone, have a calming effect on the body. It encourages restful sleep, and helps to regulate our hormones. It acts as a mild sedative and reduces stress, anger, anxiety and depression. Dill leaves also contain flavonoids and B-vitamins which helps cure insomnia and sleep disorders.

Headache Help

Dill has been used since ancient times to help prevent headaches due to its amazing anti-inflammatory properties which help to relieve tension in the blood vessels and allow blood to flow more freely without intense pressure build-up (which often triggers a bad headache).


Sources:
Zheng, G., Kenney, P., & Lam, L. (1992) Anethofuran, carvone, and limonene: potential cancer chemoprotective agents from dill weed oil and caraway oil. Planta Med, 58, 338-341.

Crowell, P. (1999) Prevention and therapy of cancer by dietary monoterpenes. The American Society for Nutritional Sciences, 129, 7755-7785.

Carvalho, C., & Fonseca, M. (2006) Carvone: Why and how should one bother to produce this terpene. Food Chemistry, 95, 413-422.

Charles, D. (2013) Dill. Antioxidant Properties of Spices, Herbs and Other Sources, 281-286.

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