Parsley is a well-known herb that originated in the Mediterranean region of Australia, Southern Italy, and Tunisia. It is popularly used as a herb, a spice in its dried or fresh form, and as a green leafy vegetable.
Both the root and leaves are commonly used in American, European and Middle Eastern cooking to elevate the flavours of soups, fish recipes, and salad. The leaf comes in two types; the flat leaf and curly leaf.
As with other veggies, parsley is packed with a lot of essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, sodium, and B vitamins. It has also been linked to countless health benefits such as prevention of cancer, diabetes management and skincare.
The root form of parsley is especially rich in vitamin C and iron and can be prepared the same way as other root vegetables like turnip and carrots.
|Nutrition Facts of Parsley|
|Total lipid (fat) [g]||0.79|
|Carbohydrate, by difference [g]||6.33|
|Fiber, total dietary [g]||3.3|
|Sugars, total [g]||3.3|
|Calcium, Ca [mg]||138|
|Iron, Fe [mg]||138|
|Magnesium, Mg [mg]||50|
|Phosphorus, P [mg]||58|
|Potassium, K [mg]||554|
|Sodium, Na [mg]||56|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]||133|
|Zinc, Zn [mg]||1.07|
|Vitamin B-6 [mg]||0.09|
|Folate, DFE [µg]||152|
|Vitmin B-12 [µg]||0|
|Vitamin A, RAE [µg]||421|
|Vitamin A, IU [IU]||8424|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]||0.75|
|Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]||0|
|Vitamin D [IU]||0|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]||0.12|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]||0.3|
|Fatty acids, total saturated [g]||0.13|
|Fatty acids, total trans [g]||0|
Its also an excellent source of volatile compounds like alpha-thujene, eugenol, myristicin, and limonene. Its leaves contain energy, fats, protein and carbohydrates.
Health benefits of parsley
1. Packed with antioxidants
This herb contains several flavonoid antioxidants including alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, luteolin, and apigenin.
It’s high vitamin C content also supports the immune system. According to a study published by the British journal of nutrition, vitamin C in parsley helps protect the cells from damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals.
This free radical damage exposes the body to many chronic diseases such as neurodegenerative diseases and cardiovascular problems.
2. Cancer prevention
Parsley is useful for preventing the growth and spread of cancer due to its high content of flavonoids. Flavonoids are naturally occurring compounds in plants that can counter cancer-causing compounds in the body.
Apigenin is one flavone in parsley that has been shown to counteract the growth of tumour in breast cancer aggressively. Researchers believe that this flavonoid could play a significant role in formulating a non-toxic cancer treatment in the future.
The herb was also helpful in preventing colon, colorectal and prostate cancers. Both dried and fresh parsley contains a high amount of apigenin.
Another flavone found in parsley and other plants that have proven effective in preventing skin cancer is myricetin. Parsley boasts of one of the highest concentration of this flavonoid per 100grams.
3. Managing blood sugar levels
The presence of myricetin in parsley has also been shown to be effective in the prevention and treatment of high sugar levels.
For example, researchers noticed a decrease in the blood sugar levels of rats with type 1 diabetes as well as improvements in their pancreatic functions after given them parsley extracts for one month.
It also appears to possess anti-inflammatory qualities and eliminates excess fat in the blood. Traditionally, parsley was used as a medicine for diabetes in Turkey.
Parsley is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. It’s an excellent source of collagen and other skin lightening properties.
This herb helps in removing scars and blemishes from the skin. It’s is also an excellent acne remedy as it can regulate the production of oil in the skin.
To make an effective acne mask with parsley, mix a few strigs of parsley, a tablespoon of honey, and two teaspoons of organic apple cedar vinegar in a blender.
Apply on the affected area and leave to sit for some minutes before washing off. This will help soothe and soften your skin.
5. Boosting bone health
The herb is abundant in essential nutrients like calcium, B-vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and magnesium that help in maintaining healthy bones.
It helps in reducing the risk of osteoporosis and maintain healthy bones even as we age. The B-vitamins also help regulate the levels of amino acids and homocysteine in the body, which can weaken bones.
Other potential health benefits
Parsley may also improve your health in the following ways;
Eye health: Vitamin A and antioxidants like carotene and beta-carotene are some essential nutrients in parsley that help enhance eye health.
It helps shield the retina from damage and prevent cataracts as well as macular degeneration. The herbs nutrients also help prevent puffy eyes and dark circles.
Heart health: This herb is abundant in flavone antioxidants which can reduce oxidative stress which in turn boosts cardiovascular health.
Parsley also contains high levels of folic acid and B vitamins that help protect against the thickening of artery walls.
Also, the presence of potassium in the herb helps reduce blood pressure, which helps prevent stroke and heart diseases.
Helps eliminate bad breath: Parsley can be used to fight halitosis or bad breath by chewing a few strigs of the herb.
Parsley’s fresh flavour and high chlorophyll content help freshen the mouth temporarily.
Does parsley have any side effect?
Consuming parsley in large quantities may have some disadvantages and side effects. Some of them include the following;
Rash and other allergies: parsley may make the skin extra sensitive to sunlight, which may cause a rash.
Overconsumption of oxalates: since the herb has a high amount of oxalates, consuming too much of it may be problematic, especially for people who suffer from gout or kidney stone.
Breastfeeding and pregnancy: avoid excess consumption during breastfeeding or pregnancy. Too much consumption during pregnancy may induce uterine contraction.
How to add parsley to your diet?
Parsley is a versatile herb that can be easily incorporated into any dish. While in its fresh form, parsley can last up to two weeks. When dried, it has a shelf life of up to a year.
Here are some ways to add parsley to your diet;
- Parsley can be chopped and added to salads
- As a garnish in soups and pasta
- Use in frittatas or egg bakes
- Use on homemade pizzas
- Can be added to smoothies for a flavour and nutrient boost
- Incorporated into dressings and marinades
- Use to flavour meat, poultry and fish dishes.