Parsley comes from the Umbelliferae family that includes carrots, celery, dill, fennel, cumin, coriander, parsnip, etc. It is a herb, not a vegetable.
The two popular types of parsley are the curly parsley which has bright green curly leaves; and the Italian flat-leaf parsley which has a darker shade of green with smooth flat leaves. The latter has a more fragrant and less bitter taste compared to the curly variety.
It is a highly nutritious culinary herb that is most “overlooked”. It can be found as garnish in many dishes in Western countries but is usually tossed aside and never eaten!
Nutritional Benefits Of Parsley
Parsley provides nature’s best carotenoids and is a nutrition powerhouse of a few known anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and flavonoids (lutein, zeaxanthin, apiole, rutin and apigenin).
This tiny-leaf plant is rich with chlorophyll, vitamin A, B, C, and K, folate and iron. It has high beneficial mineral contents like calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, vanadium, and zinc.
Read more about chlorophyll and the amazing similarity between the molecule structures of both chlorophyll and the human blood (hemoglobin).
Health Benefits Of Parsley
Nibbling on a sprig or two parsley would not give you any real improvement in your health. The best way to enjoy all the health benefits of this wonder herb is by taking its juice. One or two ounces a day regularly would do wonders, but don’t overdo!
Anemia: The high chlorophyll content from parsley is an excellent blood purifier and builder. The vitamin C and iron content makes iron absorption more effective. Regularly drinking parsley juice (extracted using a gear juicer) helps bring up the hemoglobin count.
Atherosclerosis: Consume parsley regularly for its vitamin C to prevent hardening of the arteries. It also helps to dissolve the sticky substances and maintain the elasticity of the blood vessels.
Arthritis: The rich vitamin C from parley helps protect against inflammatory problems like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Bad breath (halitosis): Bad breath is usually a sign of a toxic colon. If the condition is not yet too far advanced, the purifying and cleansing effect of parsley juice makes a good remedy to clean up the toxic environment.
Bladder/kidney/urinary tract problems: Two healing compounds in parsley, myristicin and apiole, help increase urine flow that removes infection-causing bacteria from the urinary tract. At the same time, it also detoxify the toxins from the body through urination. The diuretic effect helps prevent kidney stones and various urinary tract problems.
Bloatedness, water retention: Nibbling/chewing on parsley in the days before menstruation can help increase urination and eliminating excess fluid that cause bloatedness or water retention.
Cancer: Its high concentration of anti-oxidants such as monoterpenes, phthalides, polyacetylenes, help neutralize carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) like tobacco smoke. Also good remedy for lung infection or asthma.
Free radicals: Free radicals (cancer-causing compounds) are abundance in deep fried foods. Ingesting parsley will reduce the free radical damage done to our body cells as the anti-oxidants neutralize the free radicals.
Hair growth: Liquefy a big bunch of parsley into two tablespoonful of puree. Apply on wet scalp, put on the shower cap and let it sit for about an hour. Rinse and shampoo. Taking the juice at the same time, may also help the growth of long and healthy hair.
Heart health: Folate in parsley is a superb nutrient for cardiovascular health. Specifically, it helps protect blood vessels and reduces the risks of heart attack, by converting potentially dangerous homocysteine into harmless molecules.
Immunity booster: The high vitamin C content (higher than oranges) and the multi immune-enhancing compounds in parsley make it an extraordinary immunity booster.
Menstruation disorders: The presence of apiole oil in parsley, which is a constituent of female sex hormones estrogen, makes it effective in regulating monthly periods.
Flavoring: When cooking pasta, instead of adding salt to the boiling water, flavor the water with chopped parsley. The phytonutrients released into the boiling water also get absorbed into your pasta. Definitely a better choice over salt!
Vision health: The high carotenoids (precursor of A vitamin) in parsley makes it a particularly healing food for vision health. Add a big bunch of parsley as a juice ingredient daily to see the results.
Wound healing: The excellent source of histidine in parsley is the essential amino acid necessary for growth and repair of tissues. Parsley juice would do well for people healing from a wound or after a surgery.
The curly parsley is more prone to collecting dust and dirt. Soak it in a basin of water with a capful of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt for about 10 mins. Rinse well.
Although parsley is an outstanding healing food, it is not enough to just nibble on one or two sprigs. Take it in juice form. A good gear juicer is needed to extract fresh parsley juice.
The French and Greek know the benefits of parsley and garlic. When eaten together they provide a synergistic boost to the immune system, aid digestion, natural antibiotic / antiviral / antifungal.
Here’s my favorite recipe for garlic-parsley salad dressing:
|Garlic-Parsley salad dressing
Stir all the ingredients in a big bowl and make into a paste.
Parsley juice is very potent so it is not to be taken by itself, and no more than 1 oz every day. Take extra caution when taking this juice especially if you have never done detox. Pregnant women should avoid taking this very potent juice.
Parsley may be high in oxalic acid, so must not be consumed by individuals who have kidney stones. Avoid mixing with other high calcium food as oxalic acid when combined with calcium becomes inorganic.