Learn about parsley health benefits and how this superfood can up the nutrition factor in your daily diet.
Parsley is commonly used as a garnish on many pasta dishes and other meals, as it adds a burst of color and a fresh, bright flavor. Even though it is often overlooked and tossed aside on your plate, parsley offers extraordinary healing and like it’s leafy green cousin arugula it has many detoxifying and blood purifying benefits, which lead many to classify it as a superfood. This article serves as a comprehensive guide to parsley and its many health benefits.
Parsley Nutrition Facts
Raw parsley is an excellent source of:
- Vitamin E, protects against heart disease and free radical damage
- Niacin, also known as Vitamin B-3 and helps the body create energy (and is also found in Mulberries)
- Vitamin A, critical for bone, skin and eye health (Vitamin A is also plentiful in Carrots)
- Folic acid, also known as folate and is important for red blood cell production
- Potassium, needed to maintain healthy blood pressure
For more nutritious superfoods checkout our 50 Best Superfoods of 2015. It also has one of the highest levels of vitamin C of any herb, which can help cleanse the body of free radicals. Free radicals often bind to healthy cells in the body and cause disease and cancer, so it is vital to eat foods to help reduce their occurrence. This leafy green herb is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and its full flavor can help improve the taste and quality of some restrictive diets.
Because parsley is loaded with antioxidants, parsley health benefits are numerous. It is a powerful weapon against preventing arthritis, and the phytochemicals found in parsley that protect the plant from viruses, bacteria and fungi may decrease the risk of certain cancers, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, according to the American Cancer Society.
The parsley health benefits for kidney problems may include:
- Reduction of the severity and intensity of kidney spasms
- Increased urine flow
- Reduce the chance of kidney stones
- Help fight jaundice
- Treat and prevent urinary tract infections
Benefits for Women
According to WebMD, parsley health benefits for women include a reduction in water retention, which can relieve some of the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, and it can also be used to start menstrual flow, stimulate hair growth, and relieve dry, chapped skin. If you prefer a spicy touch to your beauty routine, parsley is often added to soaps, cosmetics, and perfumes to create a pleasing aroma. Powerful skin healers like parsley and coconut oil can soothe dried and damaged skin if used internally or externally.
Buying and Storing Parsley
Purchase parsley fresh from your local farmers market. Not only will this support your local growers but you will gain the maximum health benefits from this and other fresh produce as well. If you must purchase it from a grocery store, look for fresh parsley that has a deep green color and appears to be crisp and fresh.
Avoid any bunches that contain wilted or yellow leaves. This type of appearance indicates the parsley is either overmature or damaged. If you have no choice but to purchase dried parsley, choose a brand that has been made from organic herbs. Store your fresh parsley in the refrigerator in a plastic bag.
Italian parsley is often referred to as flat-leaf parsley as opposed to the most common curly-leaf parsley. The leaves are easy to chop, and it is commonly used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. The Italian parsley health benefits are comparable to that of regular parsley. It is high in iron and vitamins A, C, and E, and the fragrant scent makes it an excellent natural breath sweetener.
Parsley comes from the same family that includes carrots, celery, and parsnips. This herb is often considered one of nature’s best carotenoids, so take advantage of these antioxidants by drinking one to two ounces of parsley juice a day. Simply add it to your juicer along with a variety of fruits and vegetables to create a delicious and enjoyable drink. The health benefits of parsley juice include protection against atherosclerosis and anemia, and it is an effective anti-inflammatory.
Parsley tea has been used for centuries around the world to help strengthen the immune system. Other health benefits of parsley tea include its ability to inhibit tumor formation in the lungs, and it helps to prevent oxygen-based damage to cells.
For tea lovers, parsley tea can be made by placing approximately a fourth of a cup of fresh parsley into an infusion basket and putting the basket into a cup or a teapot. The herbs should steep for five to seven minutes. Remove the basket and add a small amount of honey to sweeten the tea. If you prefer, you can add lemon to enhance the flavor.
Cooking with Parsley
Enjoy the benefits of parsley by adding it to a variety of dishes and recipes. Chop the herb finely and add it to spaghetti sauce to brighten the flavor. You can also add it to soups, chili, and other sauces. Parsley can be included in salads, if you prefer it raw, or you can add it to chicken, lamb, and beef before or after you cook them. To take full advantage of the parsley health benefits, consume at least a cup each day.