Parsley is present throughout the year on the market. It is a cheap leaf that anyone can get a hold of. It is also a highly nutritious plant and has ample vitamins and antioxidants, which can significantly improve our health.
First let’s know what this herb exactly is and how does it benefit us in many ways.
What Is Parsley?
Parsley is an herb that originated in the Mediterranean region of southern Italy, Algeria, and Tunisia. Its scientific name is as Petroselinum Hortense and Petroselinum crispum, and it belongs to the family Apiaceae. There are many types of parsley leaves, but the two most popular ones are curly leaf parsley and flat leaf parsley (Italian parsley).
A predominantly tropical plant, parsley needs moisture and ample sunlight to grow. Therefore, it is used as an herb, a green leafy vegetable, and a spice.
You can use parsley in two forms: leaf and root. Both the leaf and the root are used in Mediterranean and European cuisines. It is consumed in many ways, including garnishing, salads, stocks, and sandwiches.
The leaf further has two more types: curly and flat. The root form is a new addition, which only began to be cultivated about 300 years ago and was first grown in Hamburg, Germany. Nowadays, root parsley is steadily becoming more and more popular.
Nutritional Value Of Parsley
Parsley is rich in fiber, protein, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, and vitamin K.
It is also an excellent source of volatile compounds such as myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. Its leaves contain energy, carbohydrates, fat, and protein.
Benefits of Parsley
Parsley, known for its use as a garnish, has many nutrients that provide health benefits to people. Some of these benefits include:
- Parsley contains chlorophyll, a natural breath freshener that can help get rid of bad breath.
- Due to high vitamin K content, having adequate parsley in your diet can help form proteins that help with blood clotting and bone health.
- Parsley also had added benefits for skin and hair. It is good for clearing out acne and zits and adding shine to hair.
- Parsley seed oil is also effective in healing bruises and soothing inflamed skin.
Health Benefits Of Parsley
The health benefits of parsley include controlling cancer, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis and helping prevent osteoporosis. Let’s see each health benefit in more detail:
Traditionally, Parsley was used to treating diabetes in Turkey. Research was conducted at Marmara University in Istanbul, Turkey, to give scientific evidence. The study showed that diabetic rats given parsley decreased their blood sugar levels over a month. The research indicates its use for diabetic control. Therefore, it can be taken as a natural remedy to control blood sugar levels.
Good for Eye Health
Vitamin A in parsley is another important nutrient that is responsible for strengthening and helping maintain good vision.
Controls Rheumatoid Arthritis
Parsley has also been particularly effective against rheumatoid arthritis. Compounds such as vitamin C and beta-carotene found in the herb possess anti-inflammatory properties that help in controlling arthritis. Consuming it regularly speeds up the process of uric acid removal, which can cause symptoms of arthritis.
Zheng, Kenney, and Lam from LKT Laboratories in Minneapolis, Minnesota, have extracted a compound named myristicin, a phenylpropane compound, from parsley oil extract. A preliminary investigation into the myristicin compound revealed that it has anti-carcinogenic properties. This can reduce cancer risk, but the research is still underway.
Parsley has traditionally has an extensive use in the Mediterranean region for toothaches, bruises, insect bites, and rough skin.
According to preliminary studies conducted at the King Saud University by Al-Howiriny et al., parsley displayed anti-inflammatory and anti-hepatotoxicity properties. The anti-inflammatory properties reduce internal inflammations, while the anti-hepatotoxic properties help cleanse the liver.
This can be beneficial for a host of chronic disease processes. Furthermore, it acts as a pain reliever with anti-inflammatory properties. It also provides relief from gastrointestinal issues such as indigestion, stomach cramps, bloating, and nausea while helping to strengthen the immune system
Parsley is effective in cases of osteoporosis and helps maintain bone health. Osteoporosis occurs due to depleted calcium levels in the bones and an amino acid called homocysteine.
The intake of folic acid can break down this amino acid. Due to this aspect, apart from dairy products and vegetables, parsley is among one of the best sources of calcium. However, it also contains an appropriate amount of folic acid, which may break down homocysteine.
For many centuries now, parsley has had properties that help control various diseases such as kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and gallbladder stones. Edema is a medical condition where a patient retains fluid in the body more than they are supposed to hold under normal circumstances. As a result, the body swells because of fluid accumulation. This effect can also help in controlling blood pressure and fluid retention.
If this condition afflicts you, a few teaspoons of parsley juice can provide some quick relief. The herb’s roots are also very much helpful in counteracting kidney stones. Adding its roots to boiling water and drinking it is effective as a general cleanser for the body and keeping your kidneys healthy.
Strengthens the Immune System
The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in parsley help enhance immunity. Vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, and niacin each act on different aspects of the immune system. Vitamin A acts directly on lymphocytes or white blood cells, increasing their effect.
The chlorophyll contained in it has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties as well. Studies have shown that the herb contains antioxidant and antibacterial properties, making it an ideal source for various home remedies.
Flavonoids present in parsley can function as anti-oxidants, preventing radical oxygen damage inside the cells. This property can help in boosting cardiovascular health.
Possible Risks of Eating Parsley
Consumption of Parsley, especially in large quantities, may have side effects and disadvantages. Some of them include the following:
Risky for Pregnant Women
The consumption of large quantities of the herb may induce uterine contractions during pregnancy. At any stage of pregnancy, this can be very risky. In addition, large amounts of parsley are not safe for breastfeeding women. Therefore, avoiding excessive consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Parsley has a high quantity of oxalates. This high concentration can be particularly problematic for people who suffer from kidney stones.
Other: It may make skin extra sensitive to the sun, which may cause the formation of a rash.
Quick Serving Tips
Garnish: Fresh Parsley is a fragile and mild leaf that can be a good addition to any dish as a garnish. In this way, you can preserve the nutrients and they will not evaporate in the cooking process. You can add parsley in pasta as it a popular addition to it. Add to your favorite recipes and enjoy!
Soups: Add it to soups, such as tomato soups and sauces, before serving for added flavor and aroma.
Salads and Juices: Consume this fresh herb directly by adding it to fruit salads and fruit/vegetable juices. Dried and fresh parsley can both be beneficial for adding flavor to various food preparations.
Parsley has many benefits, but there are risks associated with consuming too much. To avoid these risks, limit your intake to 1 cup per day. Always consult your doctor before using any herb to avoid side effects.