Dill (herb) nutrition facts
Dill weed is a unique perennial herb with pleasant anise-like flavor. Its sprigs (leaves) as well as seeds are employed as seasoning in various cuisines worldwide. Dill is the member in the Umbelliferae family, a large group of flowering herbs and spices that also includes caraway, parsley, cumin, fennel, etc.
Botanically, dill belongs to the family of Apiaceae, in the genus: Anethum, and scientifically named as Anethum graveolens.
Dill is native to Mediterranean and Eastern-European regions. Just like in cilantro, it too requires warm summer climates with well-drained fertile soil to flourish. It grows 1 to 2 feet in height and features dark-green leaves (sprigs) that are wispy and fern-like, have a soft texture with rich pleasant anise aroma and sweet taste.
Dill seeds, used as condiment spice, are similar in taste and appearance to "caraway seeds." They feature light brown color, oval shape with vertical ridges and flavor that is aromatic, sweet, and citrus, but also slight bitterly.
Health benefits of dill
Dill weed contains numerous plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have been anti-oxidant, disease preventing, and health promoting properties.
This popular herb contains no cholesterol and is very low in calories. Nonetheless, it holds many anti-oxidants, vitamins like niacin, pyridoxine, etc., and dietary fibers, which help in controlling blood cholesterol levels.
Dill leaves (sprigs) and seeds carry many essential volatile oils such as d-carvone, dillapiol, DHC, eugenol, limonene, terpinene and myristicin.
The essential oil, Eugenol in the dill has been in therapeutic usage as local-anesthetic and anti-septic. Eugenol has also been found to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics. (Further detailed studies, however, require to establish its role.)
Dill oil, extracted from dill seeds has anti-spasmodic, carminative, digestive, disinfectant, galactagogue (helps breast milk secretion), and sedative properties.
It is also rich in many vital vitamins, including folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin A, ß-carotene, vitamin-C that is essential for optimum metabolism inside the human body.
Vitamin-A, and beta carotene are natural flavonoid antioxidants. 100 g of dill weed sprigs provide 7718 IU or 257% of recommended-daily levels of this vitamin. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin, and is essential for good vision. Consumption of natural foods rich in flavonoids helps the human body to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- Fresh dill herb is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamin, vitamin-C. 100 g contain about 85 mg or 140% of vitamin C. Vitamin-C helps human body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
Dill weed is a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Copper is a cofactor for many vital enzymes, including cytochrome c-oxidase and superoxide dismutase (other minerals function as cofactors for this enzyme are manganese and zinc). Zinc is a co-factor in many enzymes that regulate growth and development, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
Dill herb has all the characters to consider it has one of the most valuable functional foods. 100 g of dill weed provides only 43 calories, but its phyto-nutrients profile is no less than any other high-calorie food source; be it nuts, pulses, cereals, or meat group.
100 g fo this herb provides (%of RDA per 100 g):
37.5% of folates (vitamin B11),
14% of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine),
23% of riboflavin (vitamin B-2),
140% of vitamin-C,
257% of vitamin-A,
21% of calcium,
82% of iron and
55% of manganese