When you hear the word “dill,” you might immediately think of a pickle. Most don’t think of the actual dill weed, which is honestly used as more of an insult than anything. However, dill is an herb that’s been used for centuries in a variety of ways across the world. Dill has a distinct flavor when it’s fresh, and the leaves can be eaten while the extract is used in oils as an ingredient in food, soap or medicine.
No matter which way you’re using dill, it has a ton of different health benefits from its uses. You might have to go to a specific market that specializes in herbs like dill to find it, but it’s certainly worth the trip. To show you why you should have dill in your household, let’s look at the nutritional value and great benefits that dill provides.
Nutrition of Dill
A one ounce serving of fresh dill is incredibly low in calories, delivering just 12 of them per serving. Finding a food that delivers massive nutrition at such a low calorie count is pretty rare, but dill fits the category. Each serving of dill will give you a gram of protein and a small dose of dietary fiber that your body needs. Vitamins are where dill really makes its mark, with more than 40 percent of your daily recommendation in both vitamins A and C.
Other important vitamins include folate at more than 10 percent daily value, with riboflavin, niacin and vitamin B6 all around the five percent mark. As for the minerals, dill has nearly 20 percent of your daily manganese and 10 percent of your daily iron. Other minerals found in smaller amounts around the five to 10 percent mark include calcium, magnesium and potassium. There’s no cholesterol to be found in dill, and just 0.3 grams of fat in each serving (no saturated fat).
Depression is a big problem in the world, especially here in the United States. It’s estimated that more than 15 percent of Americans are taking an antidepressant, which is an alarming number. People are turning to more natural ways of treating depression these days, and it’s been found that dill might be a huge help. Research showed that dill extract contains plenty of polyphenols and tannins that were able to reduce depression symptoms nearly as much as medication with dependency or side effects.
That’s not the only way that dill was found to help the brain, either. Some studies have even indicated that dill helps reduce epileptic seizures without side effects. It also helped to promote sleep for people suffering from insomnia, allowing them to stay asleep, too. Combined with foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, and you have a powerhouse diet that can protect your brain both in the short term and long term.
Good For the Heart
One of the most common causes of heart disease is an excess amount of sodium in the body. This leads to high blood pressure and puts you at risk for a heart attack. To combat high sodium levels, you need to introduce more potassium into your system without fat and cholesterol, and dill does just that. Potassium naturally flushes out excess sodium and relieves your blood vessels to make your heart work more efficiently.
Dill has also been found to have a benefit on your cholesterol levels. Those who get dill more frequently in their diet were shown to have lower lipid and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels within just one month. This can be done either through eating dill or using the extract that’s high in flavonoids and other cholesterol fighting compounds.
There are harmful free radicals that can be found in the body, and they attack your cells to cause long term damage. This leads to serious diseases, including cancer. Dill helps your body fight against these free radicals by oxidizing molecules, working as an antioxidant. This also helps to get rid of carcinogens found in the body, which are also known to cause cancer.
Looking at the nutritional value of dill, you’ll notice that you get a massive amount of both vitamin A and C in each serving. These are two key nutrients that your body needs for a more effective immune system. Getting these vitamins promotes growth of white blood cells, which fight back against viruses and bacteria to make sure that you don’t get sick. So whether you’re looking at staying healthy in the short run or down the road, dill can help you achieve those goals.
Great For Digestion
We talk a lot on this site about how great fiber is for your diet, especially your digestive system. Though dill isn’t quite as high in fiber as some of the foods we’ve looked at, it does have tremendous benefits for digestion. When you eat dill, the oil within stimulates your digestive system so that it creates more digestive juices. This makes the digestion process much more efficient and prevents problems such as diarrhea or constipation.
The fat tissue in your body also uses energy, but it might not be efficiently. To make sure that your fat is active and not just storing on your body, it needs to be comprised of triacylglycerol. Dill is made up mostly of this type of fatty acid, putting your fat cells to work, which aids in digestion and boosting your energy. Throw in a small amount of fiber on top of it all, and dill is a great digestive tool.
There are plenty of other great uses for dill that you can use in your home, too. If you find that pesky bugs are roaming around your house too much, using a dill extract and leaving it near you can repel bugs away. Dill also makes for a great mint of sorts if you’re in a pinch, as it improves your breath by getting rid of the harmful bacteria in your mouth and even reverses damage that’s been done. Lastly, dill is a great way to maintain a menstrual cycle due to the high amount of flavonoids, and can even help relieve cramps!
Summing it Up
For most people, using dill in a variety of different ways hasn’t been found to include any harmful side effects. Still, there are a couple of things that you need to know about dill before using. There are some people that could be a bit allergic to dill, which can cause some skin irritation, though this is uncommon. Doctors also suggest that you avoid dill if you’re pregnant or nursing, as eating it could start a menstrual cycle.
Those who are diabetic (specifically those with hypoglycemia) are suggested to avoid dill since it can lower your blood sugar further. For this same reason, it’s also suggested that people who are having surgery in the coming weeks should avoid dill, and it can interact with certain medications. Again, though, most people won’t experience any problems with dill, making it perfectly safe to use. With all of those benefits and the whopping nutrition, it might be time to turn to dill to improve your health today!