Why Some People Find Coriander Disgusting: The Science Behind the Aversion

In spite of its distinct smell, coriander is a valuable source of nutrients. (Photo via unsplash.com)

Fragrant and distinctive, coriander is a herb native to the Mediterranean and commonly utilized in Asian cooking as a seasoning. However, its strong scent can be off-putting to some, which is why the “International I Hate Coriander Day was established.”

Taipei, Taiwan (WS News Publisher) – Do you like the unique taste of cilantro? In Taiwan, it is often added to soups or meats. In Southeast Asia, it is placed in noodles or cold dishes. Because of the unique smell, people who like it feel that it is particularly delicious after adding coriander to food, but those who cannot take it would say that they hate it extremely. So there is the annual International I Hate Coriander Day.

International I Hate Coriander Day is celebrated on February 24 every year and is initiated by the Austrian people. Originally started as an “I Hate Coriander” Facebook fan page in 2013, this page gathers a group of people who hate coriander, and they will share many funny images related to coriander. In 2017, this group launched the “International I Hate Coriander Day” campaign, officially announcing that February 24th of each year will be set as “International I Hate Coriander Day”. So far, the fan page has more than 280,000 followers and has also launched many peripheral products that hate coriander, such as clothes, masks, or hats.

Why do you hate coriander? At first, people thought you might be just a picky eater, but the research results found that it might be related to the smell of coriander. There are many compounds in coriander, such as alcohols and aldehydes. The smell of aldehydes is similar to soap and hand washing. Among them, “4-Decenal” smells a bit foul, so people are more disgusted with the smell of coriander. However, these molecules are inherently unstable, so they are usually destroyed by cooking, and the smell becomes less noticeable.

In addition to the molecular structure of coriander, a study by the American genetic testing company 23andMe found that dislike of coriander may be related to a special gene “OR6A2” in the body. After comparing the DNA of 50,000 people in the database, they found that people who dislike or find the smell of coriander disgusting have a special gene “OR6A2”. This gene makes them more likely to detect the smell of aldehydes in coriander, so they become more sensitive to the green grass or soapy smell of coriander. And then they may become people who hate coriander.

Geneticist Nicholas Eriksson’s research on the “OR6A2” gene found that this gene is more likely to appear in females and European populations. Statistics show that about 10% of people are affected by this gene, so they cannot accept the taste of coriander for a lifetime and even hate this smell extremely.

Although coriander has an inexplicable smell, it is quite healthy. Admired by Chinese medicine practitioners as one of the plants whose whole plant is a treasure, the seeds, flowers, and leaves are all edible. The commonly used parts in Europe and India are the seeds, and more than 60% of the ingredients are linalool, which has good anti-inflammatory, relaxing, and metabolism-promoting effects. Taiwan and Southeast Asia prefer to use its leaves, which contain more phytochemicals, such as carotenoids and phytosterols, which are good for stabilizing blood sugar and blood lipids and protecting the brain and eyes.

A study published in the journal “Nature” pointed out that although more than half of the probability of liking coriander or not is influenced by genes coriander itself has high nutritional value and is rich in various vitamins and minerals. Among them, the content of vitamin C and carotenoids is higher than that of many fruits and vegetables, which can be used as a natural detoxifier, promote circulation and help remove toxic heavy metals in the body, and can also delay epileptic seizures.

For the cognitive degeneration, memory loss, and concentration-related brain fog problems caused by COVID-19, or what we commonly call goldfish brain problems, in addition recommending a Mediterranean diet to supplement a large number of fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, fish, olive oil and the appropriate amount of meat for long-term maintenance. You also could eat coriander to clean the brain, anti-inflammation, and activate circulation to improve concentration and memory. At the same time, it can also relieve respiratory discomfort and boost the immune system.

If you are a coriander lover, don’t forget to add it to your daily food to maintain health and improve the goldfish brain problem. If you are the one who hates coriander, try to see if the taste will become less obvious and annoying after cooking, maybe you can change your stereotypes about coriander. Let’s start eating some coriander and enjoy its health benefits.

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