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Dill
Dill

Providing a tangy addition to pickles, salad dressing and fish dishes, fresh dill is available at markets during the summer and early fall while dried dill is available throughout the year.

Dill is native to southern Russia, western Africa and the Mediterranean region. The seeds are stronger and more flavorful than the leaves and are most commonly associated with the cuisines of Scandinavia and Germany. Its green leaves are wispy and fernlike and have a soft, sweet taste.

Dill, sprig, fresh
0.50 cup
(4.45 grams)
Calories: 2
GI: very low

NutrientDRI/DV




This chart graphically details the %DV that a serving of Dill provides for each of the nutrients of which it is a good, very good, or excellent source according to our Food Rating System. Additional information about the amount of these nutrients provided by Dill can be found in the Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Dill, featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart.

Health Benefits

Dill's unique health benefits come from two types of healing components: monoterpenes, including carvone, limonene, and anethofuran; and flavonoids, including kaempferol and vicenin.

Protection Against Free Radicals and Carcinogens

The monoterpene components of dill have been shown to activate the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, which helps attach the anti-oxidant molecule glutathione to oxidized molecules that would otherwise do damage in the body. The activity of dill's volatile oils qualify it as a "chemoprotective" food (much like parsley) that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens, such as the benzopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke, charcoal grill smoke, and the smoke produced by trash incinerators.

An Anti-Bacterial Spice

The total volatile oil portion of dill has also been studied for its ability to prevent bacterial overgrowth. In this respect, dill shares the stage with garlic, which has also been shown to have "bacteriostatic" or bacteria-regulating effects.

A Flavorful Way to Help Prevent Bone Loss

In addition to its chemoprotective and bacteriostatic properties, our food ranking system qualified dill as a very good source of calcium. Calcium is important for reducing the bone loss that occurs after menopause and in some conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Our food ranking system also qualified dill as a good source of dietary fiber and a good source of the minerals manganese, iron and magnesium.

Description

Dill is a unique plant in that both its leaves and seeds are used as a seasoning. Dill's green leaves are wispy and fernlike and have a soft, sweet taste. Dried dill seeds are light brown in color and oval in shape, featuring one flat side and one convex ridged side. The seeds are similar in taste to caraway, featuring a flavor that is aromatic, sweet and citrusy, but also slightly bitter.

Dill's name comes from the old Norse word dilla which means "to lull." This name reflects dill's traditional uses as both a carminative stomach soother and an insomnia reliever.

Dill is scientifically known as Anethum graveolens and is part of the Umbelliferae family, whose other members include parsley, cumin and bay.

History

Dill is native to southern Russia, western Africa and the Mediterranean region. It has been used for its culinary and medicinal properties for millennia. Dill was mentioned both in the Bible and in ancient Egyptian writings. It was popular in the ancient Greek and Roman cultures, where it was considered a sign of wealth and was revered for its many healing properties. Dill was used by Hippocrates, the father of medicine, in a recipe for cleaning the mouth. Ancient soldiers would apply burnt dill seeds to their wounds to promote healing.

The curative properties of dill have been honored throughout history. The Conqueror Charlemagne even made it available on his banquet tables, so his guests who indulged too much could benefit from its carminative properties. Today, dill is a noted herb in the cuisines of Scandinavia, Central Europe, North Africa and the Russian Federation.

How to Select and Store

Whenever possible, choose fresh dillweed over the dried form of the herb since it is superior in its delicate fragrant flavor. The leaves of fresh dill should look feathery and green in color. Dill leaves that are a little wilted are still acceptable since they usually droop very quickly after being picked.

Even through dried herbs and spices are widely available in supermarkets, explore the local spice and ethnic stores in your area. Oftentimes, these stores feature an expansive selection of dried herbs and spices that are of superior quality and freshness compared to those offered in regular markets. Just like with other dried herbs, try to select organically grown dill seeds since this will give you more assurance that the spice has not been irradiated.

Fresh dill should always be stored in the refrigerator either wrapped in a damp paper towel or with its stems placed in a container of water. Since it is very fragile, even if stored properly, dill will only keep fresh for about two days. Dill can be frozen, either whole or chopped, in airtight containers. Alternatively, you can freeze the dill leaves in ice cube trays covered with water or stock that can be added when preparing soups or stews.

Dried dill seeds should be stored in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dry and dark place where they will keep fresh for about six months.

How to Enjoy

A Few Quick Serving Ideas
  • Combine dill weed with plain yogurt and chopped cucumber for a delicious cooling dip.
  • Use dill when cooking fish, especially salmon and trout, as the flavors complement one another very well.
  • Use dill weed as a garnish for sandwiches.
  • Since dill seeds were traditionally used to soothe the stomach after meals, place some seeds in a small dish and place it on the dinner table for all to enjoy.
  • Add dill to your favorite egg salad recipe.
  • Mix together chopped potatoes, green beans, and plain yogurt, then season with both dill seeds and chopped dill weed.

For some of our favorite recipes, click Recipes.

Nutritional Profile

It is also a good source of vitamin A (in the form of pro-vitamin A carotenoid phytonutrients).

Dill contains two unique types of healing components: monoterpenes, including carvone, limonene, and anethofuran; and flavonoids, including kaempferol and vicenin.

Introduction to Food Rating System Chart

In order to better help you identify foods that feature a high concentration of nutrients for the calories they contain, we created a Food Rating System. This system allows us to highlight the foods that are especially rich in particular nutrients. The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good, or good source (below the chart you will find a table that explains these qualifications). If a nutrient is not listed in the chart, it does not necessarily mean that the food doesn't contain it. It simply means that the nutrient is not provided in a sufficient amount or concentration to meet our rating criteria. (To view this food's in-depth nutritional profile that includes values for dozens of nutrients - not just the ones rated as excellent, very good, or good - please use the link below the chart.) To read this chart accurately, you'll need to glance up in the top left corner where you will find the name of the food and the serving size we used to calculate the food's nutrient composition. This serving size will tell you how much of the food you need to eat to obtain the amount of nutrients found in the chart. Now, returning to the chart itself, you can look next to the nutrient name in order to find the nutrient amount it offers, the percent Daily Value (DV%) that this amount represents, the nutrient density that we calculated for this food and nutrient, and the rating we established in our rating system. For most of our nutrient ratings, we adopted the government standards for food labeling that are found in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's "Reference Values for Nutrition Labeling." Read more background information and details of our rating system.

Dill, sprig, fresh
0.50 cup
4.45 grams
Calories: 2
GI: very low
NutrientAmountDRI/DV
(%)
Nutrient
Density
World's Healthiest
Foods Rating
vitamin C3.78 mg547.5very good
manganese0.06 mg328.3good
World's Healthiest
Foods Rating
Rule
excellent DRI/DV>=75% OR
Density>=7.6 AND DRI/DV>=10%
very good DRI/DV>=50% OR
Density>=3.4 AND DRI/DV>=5%
good DRI/DV>=25% OR
Density>=1.5 AND DRI/DV>=2.5%

In-Depth Nutritional Profile

In addition to the nutrients highlighted in our ratings chart, here is an in-depth nutritional profile for Dill. This profile includes information on a full array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, sugar, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and more.

Dill, sprig, fresh
(Note: "--" indicates data unavailable)
0.50 cup
(4.45 g)
GI: very low
BASIC MACRONUTRIENTS AND CALORIES
nutrientamountDRI/DV
(%)
Protein0.15 g0
Carbohydrates0.31 g0
Fat - total0.05 g--
Dietary Fiber0.09 g0
Calories1.910
MACRONUTRIENT AND CALORIE DETAIL
nutrientamountDRI/DV
(%)
Carbohydrate:
Starch-- g
Total Sugars-- g
Monosaccharides-- g
Fructose-- g
Glucose-- g
Galactose-- g
Disaccharides-- g
Lactose-- g
Maltose-- g
Sucrose-- g
Soluble Fiber-- g
Insoluble Fiber-- g
Other Carbohydrates-- g
Fat:
Monounsaturated Fat0.04 g
Polyunsaturated Fat0.00 g
Saturated Fat0.00 g
Trans Fat0.00 g
Calories from Fat0.45
Calories from Saturated Fat0.02
Calories from Trans Fat0.00
Cholesterol0.00 mg
Water3.82 g
MICRONUTRIENTS
nutrientamountDRI/DV
(%)
Vitamins
Water-Soluble Vitamins
B-Complex Vitamins
Vitamin B10.00 mg0
Vitamin B20.01 mg1
Vitamin B30.07 mg0
Vitamin B3 (Niacin Equivalents)0.08 mg
Vitamin B60.01 mg1
Vitamin B120.00 mcg0
Biotin-- mcg--
Choline-- mg--
Folate6.67 mcg2
Folate (DFE)6.67 mcg
Folate (food)6.67 mcg
Pantothenic Acid0.02 mg0
Vitamin C3.78 mg5
Fat-Soluble Vitamins
Vitamin A (Retinoids and Carotenoids)
Vitamin A International Units (IU)343.45 IU
Vitamin A mcg Retinol Activity Equivalents (RAE)17.17 mcg (RAE)2
Vitamin A mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE)34.35 mcg (RE)
Retinol mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE)0.00 mcg (RE)
Carotenoid mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE)34.35 mcg (RE)
Alpha-Carotene-- mcg
Beta-Carotene-- mcg
Beta-Carotene Equivalents206.07 mcg
Cryptoxanthin-- mcg
Lutein and Zeaxanthin-- mcg
Lycopene-- mcg
Vitamin D
Vitamin D International Units (IU)0.00 IU0
Vitamin D mcg0.00 mcg
Vitamin E
Vitamin E mg Alpha-Tocopherol Equivalents (ATE)-- mg (ATE)--
Vitamin E International Units (IU)-- IU
Vitamin E mg-- mg
Vitamin K-- mcg--
Minerals
nutrientamountDRI/DV
(%)
Boron-- mcg
Calcium9.26 mg1
Chloride-- mg
Chromium-- mcg--
Copper0.01 mg1
Fluoride-- mg--
Iodine-- mcg--
Iron0.29 mg2
Magnesium2.45 mg1
Manganese0.06 mg3
Molybdenum-- mcg--
Phosphorus2.94 mg0
Potassium32.84 mg1
Selenium-- mcg--
Sodium2.71 mg0
Zinc0.04 mg0
INDIVIDUAL FATTY ACIDS
nutrientamountDRI/DV
(%)
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.00 g0
Omega-6 Fatty Acids0.00 g
Monounsaturated Fats
14:1 Myristoleic0.00 g
15:1 Pentadecenoic0.00 g
16:1 Palmitol0.00 g
17:1 Heptadecenoic0.00 g
18:1 Oleic0.04 g
20:1 Eicosenoic0.00 g
22:1 Erucic0.00 g
24:1 Nervonic0.00 g
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
18:2 Linoleic0.00 g
18:2 Conjugated Linoleic (CLA)-- g
18:3 Linolenic0.00 g
18:4 Stearidonic0.00 g
20:3 Eicosatrienoic0.00 g
20:4 Arachidonic0.00 g
20:5 Eicosapentaenoic (EPA)0.00 g
22:5 Docosapentaenoic (DPA)0.00 g
22:6 Docosahexaenoic (DHA)0.00 g
Saturated Fatty Acids
4:0 Butyric0.00 g
6:0 Caproic0.00 g
8:0 Caprylic0.00 g
10:0 Capric0.00 g
12:0 Lauric0.00 g
14:0 Myristic0.00 g
15:0 Pentadecanoic0.00 g
16:0 Palmitic0.00 g
17:0 Margaric0.00 g
18:0 Stearic0.00 g
20:0 Arachidic0.00 g
22:0 Behenate0.00 g
24:0 Lignoceric0.00 g
INDIVIDUAL AMINO ACIDS
nutrientamountDRI/DV
(%)
Alanine0.01 g
Arginine0.01 g
Aspartic Acid0.02 g
Cysteine0.00 g
Glutamic Acid0.01 g
Glycine0.01 g
Histidine0.00 g
Isoleucine0.01 g
Leucine0.01 g
Lysine0.01 g
Methionine0.00 g
Phenylalanine0.00 g
Proline0.01 g
Serine0.01 g
Threonine0.00 g
Tryptophan0.00 g
Tyrosine0.00 g
Valine0.01 g
OTHER COMPONENTS
nutrientamountDRI/DV
(%)
Ash0.11 g
Organic Acids (Total)-- g
Acetic Acid-- g
Citric Acid-- g
Lactic Acid-- g
Malic Acid-- g
Taurine-- g
Sugar Alcohols (Total)-- g
Glycerol-- g
Inositol-- g
Mannitol-- g
Sorbitol-- g
Xylitol-- g
Artificial Sweeteners (Total)-- mg
Aspartame-- mg
Saccharin-- mg
Alcohol0.00 g
Caffeine0.00 mg

Note:

The nutrient profiles provided in this website are derived from The Food Processor, Version 10.12.0, ESHA Research, Salem, Oregon, USA. Among the 50,000+ food items in the master database and 163 nutritional components per item, specific nutrient values were frequently missing from any particular food item. We chose the designation "--" to represent those nutrients for which no value was included in this version of the database.

References

  • Ensminger AH, Esminger M. K. J. e. al. Food for Health: A Nutrition Encyclopedia. Clovis, California: Pegus Press; 1986. 1986. PMID:15210.
  • Fortin, Francois, Editorial Director. The Visual Foods Encyclopedia. Macmillan, New York. 1996.
  • Grieve M. A Modern Herbal. Dover Publications, New York. 1971.
  • Singh G, Kapoor IP, Pandey SK et al. Studies on essential oils: part 10; antibacterial activity of volatile oils of some spices. Phytother Res 2002 Nov;16(7):680-2. 2002.
  • Wood, Rebecca. The Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Prentice-Hall Press; 1988. 1988. PMID:15220.
  • Zheng GQ, Kenney PM, Lam LK. Anethofuran, carvone, and limonene: potential cancer chemopreventive agents from dill weed oil and caraway oil. Planta Med 1992 Aug;58(4):338-41. 1992. PMID:12200.

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