Dill and Its Immense Health Benefits

Mehak Shah

June 24, 2022

Dill (scientific name: Anethum graveolens) is a weed used popularly as a garnish. It grows in most parts of the world but is native to the Mediterranean and the southern regions of Russia. It is highly nutritious and is an excellent source of various minerals and vitamins. It was used in ancient Asian cultures as a medicinal herb as well. People still use it as a medicine to treat health issues. For example, it can help treat gastrointestinal diseases, kidney disease, loss of appetite, flatulence, fever, cold, cough, and bronchitis. Also, it helps ease liver and gallbladder problems, urinary tract ailments, haemorrhoids, spasms, neuropathy, renal colic, dysuria, genital ulcers, dysmenorrhea, and even insomnia. That is why dill has recently grown in popularity. 

Here is a sneak peek at the nutritional profile of the dill plant and its various benefits on human health (backed by credible research).

Nutritional Profile of Dill

The dill plant is very nutritious. Even when taken in small quantities, it is very fulfilling for the body. According to USDA, 100 grams of dill contains the following nutrients. 

  • Water: 86 g
  • Energy: 43 kcal
  • Protein: 3.46 g
  • Fat: 1.12 g
  • Carbohydrate, by difference: 7.02 g
  • Fibre: 2.1 g
  • Calcium: 208 mg
  • Iron: 6.59 mg
  • Magnesium: 55 mg
  • Phosphorous: 66 mg
  • Potassium: 738 mg
  • Sodium: 61 mg
  • Vitamin C: 85 mg

Dill is a good source of various vitamins and minerals as well. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that the dill plant has minimal calories. Therefore, it may aid your weight loss journey. 

Health Benefits of Dill

The dill plant is beneficial to the body since it is rich in essential minerals and vitamins. Also, this plant has been known for its health benefits since ancient times. It is also a crucial medicinal herb in Ayurveda. Dill leaves and seeds have immense health benefits for the body. Listed below are a few of them. 

Rich in Antioxidants

Free radicals are unstable atoms that damage your body’s cells and cause oxidative stress. In addition, some research has shown that excess free radicals in the body can cause various diseases throughout one’s lifetime. Therefore, antioxidants are essential for your body as they protect the body against free radicals. Dill has different antioxidants like flavonoids, terpenoids, tannins, and Vitamin C. These help combat the effect of free radicals and reduce oxidative stress in the body. As a result, they protect the body against various health conditions caused by free radicals.    

Improves Digestion

Dill is highly beneficial for your digestive tract. It reduces bloating as it prevents gas development in the alimentary canal. It also helps in preventing constipation. The antacid properties of dill can further help against ulcers and gastritis. Dill’s antibacterial and digestive properties can also help ease diarrhoea.

Lowers Blood Sugar Levels

High blood sugar promotes various problems in the body. Studies suggest dill can be effective in lowering blood sugar levels. A compound known as eugenol helps regulate blood glucose levels (type 2 diabetes). It promotes the secretion of insulin, thereby managing diabetes. 

Beneficial for Cardiovascular Health

Cardiovascular or heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world. Fortunately, one can avoid most severe heart conditions simply by making minor changes to diet and lifestyle. Bad cholesterol and inflammation are two significant causes of heart conditions. So if you can counter these, you will be able to avoid most heart diseases. Dill has both anti-inflammatory properties and reduces bad cholesterol levels. So it can help in keeping your heart healthy.

Improve Respiratory Health

The presence of a compound known as kaempferol in dill may be responsible for improving respiratory health. In addition, research has suggested that it loses sputum in the lungs and nasal cavity and facilitates easy breathing. 

It Prevents Various Kinds of Cancers

The dill plant effectively prevents certain cancers like lung cancer, breast cancer, and colon cancer. Also, studies prove it helps in the detoxification of carcinogenic compounds. These benefits attribute to a class of compounds known as monoterpenes. 

Reduces Infections

Research suggests that it is rich in antioxidants and has antibacterial properties, which fight against infections, cough, and cold and helps in healing wounds. 

Improves Bone Health

As mentioned in the nutritional profile of dill, it has a significant amount of calcium. Calcium is an essential mineral for strengthening the bones. With this, dill may help prevent painful conditions like osteoporosis.  

Eases Menstrual Pain

Consuming the leaves of the dill plant may help in your regulating monthly menstrual discharge as well. Dill has emmenagogue properties. Research in this area has suggested that they have specific properties that can help maintain menstrual cycles and avoid dysmenorrhea. In addition, the oils present in the dill plant give it antispasmodic properties and may help reduce pain from menstrual cramps. 

Medicinal Uses of Dill

Dill has a lot of health benefits. Interestingly, Ayurveda has incorporated the benefits of dill to treat several ailments since ancient times. The flatulence relieving oil improves appetite, reduces gas, and prevents indigestion. Chewing its seeds also helps get rid of bad breath. In addition, studies have proved it stimulates milk secretion in lactating mothers. It might also help to cure urinary infections and peptic ulcers. 

How to Consume Dill?

Dill and curd is a combination that works beautifully as a dip or a sandwich, or roll spread. Dill butter is famous worldwide. Fresh dill is more fragrant than the dried variety. It also is prepared as a sabzi and goes beautifully with Indian flatbread. Of course, you can pickle it too. One gets rid of hiccups and headaches by having strained water boiled with dill. Interestingly, dill was famous as a witch repellent in the middle ages. Dill tea is an innovative way of consuming it. 

Where to Use Dill?

This garnish ingredient is very easy to add to dishes. It is flavourful and enhances the taste of the dish as well. Following are mentioned some of how you can use dill in various foods.

  • Garnish: Use dill as a garnish for soups and vegetables.
  • Use it in gravlax
  • Stir it in some yoghurt 
  • Instead of garnishing, you can also use it as a salad itself. Chop it and add it to salads.
  • It can also be garnished on egg dishes to add flavour.
  • Dill seeds: You can crush dill seeds and add them to soup and vegetables.
  • Best paired with fish dishes. 

Storage and Safety

Dill does not remain fresh for long. But by storing dill properly, you can preserve it for up to one year. To keep dill, spritz the leaf of the dill plant in water. Then, wrap them in a paper towel, and you can easily store them in the freezer for up to seven days. You can keep the paper towel in the freezer for storing dill fresh for up to six months. If you want to store dill for longer, you can dry it. When stored in a freezer, dried dill leaves and dill seeds remain fresh for one year.   

Side Effects of Dill

Dill is safe for most people. However, in rare cases, it may cause allergic reactions. It may also cause vomiting, throat swelling, and tongue irritation. 

It is advisable to avoid using dill during pregnancy. Also, applying dill leaves or paste of dill leaves on the skin can irritate. In addition, Dill juice can make you sensitive to sunlight. People with diabetes who are taking lithium should avoid the dill plant. Also, people going for surgery should stop having dill at least two weeks before their surgery.  

The Conclusion

Herbal medicines and spices have enriched our diets since ancient times. Dill plant is very nutritious and is a natural ingredient with immense health benefits for the body. The best part is that dill is commonly available and readily available. It is also known as Lao coriander. It has a sweet and aromatic fragrance. Also, it looks beautiful and dainty, with its fern-like leaves and dark green colour. 

Dill boosts bone and heart health, improves bad breath, treats respiratory issues etc. There are several evidence-based health benefits. Therefore, its benefits are not mythical, and they are reliable. Its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anticancer components are no secret. It has been widely enhancing the medical status of a person and the flavour in varieties of dishes. Therefore, adding this herb to your diet will help you enjoy healthy and tasty foods with minimal side effects. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What does a dill taste like?

A. Dill has a grassy taste with slightly an anise-like liquorice flavour. It is faintly sweet and goes well with mint and garlic. However, it is different for summers and when summers set in, dill plants flower, known as bolting. Also, bolting changes the flavour of the leaves and makes them less aromatic and more bitter, which tastes similar to tarragon. In addition, it also has a slight bit of an anise-like liquorice flavour.  

Q. What foods go well with dill?

A. Dill generally goes well with most foods since it pairs well with mint and garlic. Various dishes, including potatoes, grains, vegan seafood, creamy dressings, vegan cheese, vegan dishes, greens, tomatoes, onions, and lemon, go well with dill. You can also add it to stews and soups. Dill also goes well with most salads and makes good dill vinegar. 

Q. What is dill seasoning good on?

A. Dill is a weed-grown in most parts of the world. It is most famous as a garnish for leaves and seeds. Also, it goes well with seafood dishes, yoghurt sauces, vinegar, potato salads, pieces of bread, and soups.  

Q. Is dill the same as fennel?

A. Both Dill and fennel are weeds and belong to the family of aromatic plants. However, they are not the same. Dill is used mainly for its dried seed in pickling or fresh in sauces and salad dressings. It blends the distinctive flavour of its seed with pleasant green. On the other hand, the fennel is more anise or liquorice-like. The farmer directs the plant’s energy into the bulb when not grown for its seed. Fennel bulb is a versatile, mild veggie that is superb, sautéed, or grilled in Mediterranean dishes or raw in salads. 

Q. Is dill and soya the same?

A. Yes, seldomly dill is referred to as “soya leaf” or “sowa.” However, since it is a member of the parsley family, it is often recognised by these names.   

Q. What part of dill do we eat?

A. The entire dill plant is edible. However, the leaves and the seeds are the ones that have health benefits, as described in this article. It also depends on the dishes dill will be garnished with. For example, a broiled fish dish works for marination, and it is grounded and sprinkled for soups and bread.  

Q. Is dill a laxative?

A. Yes, dill is a laxative. In most cases, one can use dill to treat constipation and diarrhoea. However, it causes diarrhoea, constipation, and vomiting in rare cases. Moreover, consuming too many laxatives can be detrimental to health.  

Q. Is dill healthy to eat?

A. Certainly, consuming in suggested amounts is safe and healthy to eat. The dill plant is very nutritious and has immense health benefits for the body. It proves to have beneficial effects on health and is safe for most. However, it may cause allergic reactions like vomiting, throat swelling, and tongue irritation in rare cases. Also, please remember that you should avoid it during pregnancy. Also, its topical application might irritate the skin.  

Q. How do you use dill stems?

A. Dill stems can is used to flavour meats and fish, season stocks and soups, or even enhance the dill flavour of pickles. However, you should remove its stems from a dish before serving. They are just used for the taste and are not edible as they are hard to chew. 

Q. What cheese goes with dill?

A. Most kinds of cheese go well with dill. Fresh cheese, aged fresh cheese, soft white rind cheese, semi-soft cheese, hard cheese, and blue cheese go exceptionally well with dill. However, its usage is common in cottage cheese and mozzarella. 

About the Author

Mehak holds masters in foods and nutrition from Amity university, Noida. She has a keen interest in public health and nutrition and has been in charge of various projects with milestone NGO. She has worked with people over the globe to bring out the changes in their lives and has always been working towards lifestyle modifications via good dietary practices. According to her a healthy lifestyle is not about the destination but all about the journey.

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