Dill is an aromatic herb native to the Mediterranean that belongs to the celery family. Its name comes from the Norwegian word “dilla” which means “to soothe” in reference to its medicinal qualities, for which it has long been used, thanks to its dense nutritional profile.
It is rich in Vitamins A and C, both antioxidants which reduce inflammation and protect from damaging free radicals.
Nowadays it is used in various ways and is included in many styles of cooking, with health benefits that we can take advantage of by incorporating it into our diet every now and then.
It is similar in look and flavour to fennel fronds and has a fresh, slightly aniseed flavour.
What are the health benefits of dill and dill seed?
Dill is great for the digestive system
One of the main medicinal uses for dill since 3000BC has been the benefits it brings to issues with our digestive system. Intestinal gas, bloating and indigestion are all ailments that dill has been able to help alleviate over the years.
A great way of incorporating it into your diet for treating these conditions is to make a tea from dill which will help soothe any discomfort that you are having.
You can crush some dill seeds and brew them in water for about 10-15 minutes, strain and then drink a few times each day to help. If you don’t have seeds, then you can also use the leaves and strain as before.
Of course, incorporating the herb into your meals will also help you with any digestive issues you may be having.
A good source of fibre, calcium and folate
Dill is a good source of fibre which helps in controlling blood cholesterol levels and is also high in folates. Your body needs folate to produce DNA and for healthy cell growth and function.
We did find out that it is recommended that women who are trying to get pregnant or are pregnant do not consume too much dill, certainly not for medicinal uses, whereas a little here and there as in normal cooking is fine.
The ratio of calcium in dill seeds relative to milk is that one tablespoon of seeds contains the same amount of calcium as one-third of a glass of milk which is about 11% of our RDI.
We all know the benefits of calcium for our bodies, our bones and our teeth. This makes dill a great alternative for vegans or for people who are dairy intolerant.
The amount of calcium from the corresponding quantity of fresh leaves, is only 1% of our RDI, so seeds are the main source of calcium.
Dill seeds are great for using in baking, soups, stews and you can even add them to water when boiling potatoes or vegetables as you would use a bay leaf. You can also use them in salad dressings giving you plenty of ways in which you can incorporate the seeds into your diet.
Helps with the respiratory system
Dill contains an important class of chemicals called monoterpenes. These are great for clearing up any congestion in your body and can also help with any allergies.
The monoterpenes include carvone, limonene and anethofuran which are known to prevent oxidation and will remove harmful molecules from our bodies, leading to dill being considered a “chemoprotective” food.
Used for treating insomnia
There are many ways in which we can help our bodies get a good night’s sleep and we aim to cover a lot of these as we look at various ingredients and recipes which can help.
Dill is one such ingredient. The B-vitamins and flavonoids found in dill are known to stimulate certain enzymes which help you relax and promote a better sleep.
Make a dill tea as we mentioned above and the nutrients and compounds that this herb contains will have you drifting off in no time!
Cooking with Dill
Dill can easily be grown at home. It does not need much attention, just plenty of sun (5-6 hours per day) and water twice a week.
Being a staple in many cuisines across the globe, including Sweden, Thailand and Russia. It is often used in pickling and could easily be added to the pickling juice of our Pickled Red Onion recipe to give a fresh healthy twist.
It also goes beautifully with salmon and other fish and don’t forget you can add to a variety of salads and vegetables for that extra bit of zing.
We think that dill is a fantastic addition to any pantry and with the wide range of benefits that it can provide to our bodies we will be including it in many of our recipes as we build up our range of ideas for you to try.
Dill is a superfood for people with diabetes as it helps lower blood sugar levels.
Dill was used by Hippocrates, the father of medicine, in a recipe for cleaning the mouth
The Conqueror Charlemagne even made it available on his banquet tables, so his guests who indulged too much could benefit from its digestion-soothing properties