The health benefits of parsley include controlling cancer, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, along with helping prevent osteoporosis. Furthermore, it acts as a pain reliever with anti-inflammatory properties. Parsley also provides relief from gastrointestinal issues such as indigestion, stomach cramps, bloating, and nausea, while helping to strengthen the immune system.
Parsley can be found 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 greatly improve our health.
The nutrients found in parsley include vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, choline, folates, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, and copper. Parsley is also a very good source of volatile compounds such as myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. Parsley leaves contain energy, carbohydrates, fat, and protein.
Parsley, known for its use as a garnish, has many nutrients that provide health benefits to people. Some of these benefits include:
Anti-Diabetic Properties: Traditionally, parsley was used as a medicine for diabetes in Turkey. In order to scientifically validate this claim, research was conducted at Marmara University in Istanbul, Turkey. The research showed evidence that diabetic rats that were given parsley actually showed a decrease in their blood sugar levels over a period of a month. The research indicates that parsley can be used for diabetic control.
Controls Rheumatoid Arthritis: Parsley has also been particularly effective against rheumatoid arthritis. Compounds such as vitamin C and beta-carotene found in parsley possess anti-inflammatory properties that help in controlling arthritis. Consuming parsley regularly is also believed to speed up the process of uric acid removal, which has been linked to symptoms of arthritis.
Anti-Carcinogenic Properties: Zheng, Kenney and Lam from LKT Laboratories in Minneapolis, Minnesota have extracted a compound named myristicin, which is a phenylpropane compound, from parsley oil extract. Preliminary investigation into the myristicin compound had revealed that it has anti-carcinogenic properties. Myristicin extract from parsley was only tested on rats and human application of this compound still remains to be seen.
Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Parsley has traditionally been used 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 in internal inflammations, while the anti-hepatotoxic properties help to cleanse the liver.
Osteoporosis: Parsley is effective in cases of osteoporosis and is helpful in maintaining bone health. Osteoporosis occurs due to depleted levels of calcium in the bones and also due to an amino acid called homocysteine. This amino acid can be broken down by the intake of folic acid. Due to this aspect, apart from dairy products and vegetables, parsley is regarded as one of the best sources of calcium. It also contains an appropriate amount of folic acid, which may break down homocysteine.
Diuretic effects: For many centuries now, parsley has been used as a diuretic that helps in controlling 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 what he or she is supposed to hold under normal circumstances. The body swells because of fluid accumulation. If you are afflicted by this condition, a few teaspoons of parsley juice can provide some quick relief. The roots of parsley are also very much useful in counteracting kidney stones. Adding parsley roots to boiling water and drinking it on a daily basis is known to be effective as a general cleanser for the body.
Strengthens the Immune System: The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in parsley are helpful for strengthening 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, thereby increasing their effect. The chlorophyll contained in parsley has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties as well. Studies have showed that parsley contains antioxidant properties and antibacterial properties, making it an ideal source for various home remedies.
Garnish– Fresh parsley is a fragile and mild leaf that can be added to any dish as a garnish. In this way, the nutrients will be preserved and will not evaporate in the cooking process. Pasta is one popular preparation where parsley is extensively used raw.
Soups – Parsley can be added to soups, such as tomato soups and sauces, before serving for added flavor and aroma.
Salads and Juices– Parsley can be consumed directly in fruit salads, vegetable salads, and fruit/vegetable juices.
Fresh and dried parsley can both be used for adding flavor to various food preparations.