The health benefits of parsley are significant, given that this food is often a last minute additive for flavor. Adding it to dishes is easy enough to do, which means it is easy to get these benefits. If you have been throwing away parsley garnishes on your plate, it may be time to start paying more attention to this food.
What Are the Health Benefits of Parsley
Some people refer to parsley as a nutritional powerhouse. People have cultivated parsley for nearly 2000 years, but people used it for medicinal reasons even longer than that. During ancient times, it was even in use as a way of decorating tombs.
Today, there are 30 varieties of parsley. The varieties most commonly found in American grocery stores are flat leaf parsley and curly leaf parsley. These are also easy to grow in most parts of the country. Consider why you should add parsley to more of your dishes.
- Vitamin K: Parsley has 123.00 mcg of vitamin K, which is 153.8 percent of the daily value recommended for adults.
- Vitamin C: Parsley contains 9.97 mg of vitamin C, which is 16.6 percent of the daily-recommended value.
- Vitamin A: With 631.80 IU of vitamin A, parsley gives you 12.6 percent of your daily-recommended value.
- Folate: Folate, or folic acid, is also in parsley. Its 11.40 mcg is 2.9 percent of the recommended daily value.
- Iron: Parsley also is a good source for iron, with 0.46 mg of it in an average serving. This is 2.6 percent of the recommended daily value.
Keep in mind that two tablespoons is the recommended portion size and this size contains less than three calories.
How Parsley Improves Health
As for the health benefits of parsley, this herb may be much more powerful than you realized. With just a standard serving size per day, parsley can help improve the health of many people.
- Cancer Fighting: The volatile oils contained in parsley help to inhibit the growth of tumors. Scientists have demonstrated this in animal studies. These oils help to neutralize carcinogens. Carcinogens enter the body in numerous ways, including through cigarette smoke and smog. Carcinogen build up can contribute to the development of cancer. Parsley's source of folic acid may contribute to preventing colon and cervical cancers as well.
- Heart Health: Parsley's folic acid is also an important tool for heart health. Specifically, it can help keep the cardiovascular system healthy. To do this, the folic acid found in parsley will help convert homocysteine into molecules that are harmless. This process helps to keep blood vessels strong, which in turn reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
- Antioxidant Rich: Parsley contains flavonoids. These antioxidant compounds work to fight free radicals found in the body. Flavonoids combine with oxygen rich molecules to prevent oxygen damage to the cells. There is proof antioxidants do help reduce the risks of various illnesses, including cancers.
- Arthritis Fighter: Studies also show that parsley is helpful at fighting rheumatoid arthritis. In particular, those who consume foods with a high level of vitamin C in them, like parsley, are less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis.
Tips for Getting More Parsley
In order to benefit from the health benefits of parsley, it is important to get more of this vitamin rich food into your daily diet. With its mild taste, parsley adds to dishes easily, even ones you may not have thought to add it to in the past.
- Use parsley in vinaigrette dressings. It pairs well with garlic and lemon as a salad dressing.
- Add it to finished soups as a topping. Pair it with slivers of chives on any cream soup. Stir it into the broth of chicken and beef based soups.
- Add it to the slow cooker along with any of your favorite dishes.
- Finely chop parsley and mix into an extra virgin olive oil dressing for pasta dishes.
- Top sauces with a bit of fresh parsley just before serving.
It is also possible to purchase parsley supplements, though dried forms of the nutrients are more potent than fresh versions. Check with your herbalist for serving sizes.