The Top Ten Health Benefits of Parsley
Parsley is an herb, vegetable and spice and has found its wide ranging use not only in culinary practices but also for the medicinal purposes. It traces its origin, about 2000 years back to Central Mediterranean regions including Algeria, Tunisia and Southern Italy, but now, it is grown almost everywhere in the world.
Parsley, commonly known as the ‘Rock Celery’, is a member of the family ‘Apiaceae’ and a species under the genus ‘Petroselinum’. This popular herb is bright green in color, and its leaves and roots are the parts, which are used for various purposes. There are two varieties of this herb, one Petroselinum crispum, which is cultivated for leaves and the other Petroselinum tuberosum, which is grown for its root. These leaves and roots are put through various medicinal and culinary uses; let’s see some of its culinary uses.
Culinary Uses of Parley: Parsley is milder than Coriander leaves in terms of flavor, but, it is an important part of many cuisines including American, Mediterranean and East European cuisine. The leaves of Parsley are appetite boosters and are widely used in salads, soups, meats and other foods, and also for garnishing purposes, whereas the roots are mostly consumed as vegetables.
It is also used for various medicinal purposes; but we will see that later; first, let’s go to the nutritional profile of this herb.
Nutritional Profile of Parsley: Parsley contains phytochemicals including folate, Zeaxanthin and Beta carotene in addition to several minerals like iron and calcium and vitamins A, C and K. The calories supplied by this herb are also very less, as compared to its nutrient content, and it contains various Volatile oils like limonene, alpha-thujene, myristicin and eugenol and different Flavonoids including luteolin, apiin, crisoeriol and apigenin.
Now, as you known the composition of Parsley, let me tell you about the top ten benefits that, it has to offer.
1. Parsley keeps your body and tissues healthy
Parsley is very helpful in maintaining the health of your eyes, skin, teeth and hair, as it comes with a complete package of nutrients, for all these body parts.
- The Vitamin C, in association with proteins, helps in production of Collagen fibers that reduces the occurrence of wrinkles, and acts as an adhesive, for the skin cells.
- It stimulates secretion from the Sebaceous glands to keep the skin moist and prevent fine lines and spider veins from appearing on your face.
- Iron present in Parsley helps in maintaining the skin color, health of the nails, and also helps in growth of strong hair.
- Calcium present in Parsley revitalizes your skin, clears blemishes and also makes it glowing and flawless.
2. Parsley is Anti-cancer
Parsley has been established as an anti-cancer herb because of its special abilities to prevent cancers in the body organs, especially intestine and liver. The Apigenin and Myristicin present in Parsley are well established chemicals, acknowledged for their anti-cancer activities. Apigenin inhibits the growth of tumors, by stalling the blood vessel formation, required to provide feed, to the fast multiplying, tumor cells. On the other hand, myristicin inhibits the formation of tumor and activates glutathione-S-transferase, the enzyme responsible for fighting the oxidized molecules.
3. Anti-inflammatory properties of Parsley
Parsley reduces inflammation substantially, which is because of its Vitamin A, C and Luteolin content. It is very effective in the patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis as well as Osteoarthritis.
4. Makes the Immune system of the body healthy and strong
Parsley contains Vitamin A, also known as anti-infection vitamin, which strengthens the mucous membranes, intestinal, respiratory and urinary tract and also the lining of eyes, thus, safeguarding the body entry points, against the foreign invasion. It also makes the lymphocytes of the body strong to fight pathogens and keeps you safe from infections. The Vitamin C present in Parsley, along with supporting the immune system, also helps in preventing infections such as cold and flu along with the ear infections.
5. Great anti-oxidant properties
Many chemicals present in Parsley are very strong and effective anti-oxidants. They kill the free radicals that are causing damage to the body cells and slow down aging.
- Zeaxanthin filters the harmful UV rays of the sun entering the retina and also acts as an anti-oxidant to prevent the occurrence of ARMD or Age related macular degeneration.
- Parsley, with the help of its Vitamin C and Beta carotene content, helps in prevention of many diseases related to oxidative stress, like Asthma, Diabetes and Atherosclerosis, by killing and dissolving the free radicals. The water soluble radicals are dealt by Vitamin C and the fat soluble areas are covered by Beta-carotene.
- Luteolin and other Flavonoids present in the herb, along with Vitamin A and Vitamin C, search and kill the harmful free radicals present in the body.
6. Neutralizes the harmful effects of smoking and alcohol
Myristicin, found in Parsley neutralizes the carcinogens, present in the charcoal grill smoke and also cigarette smoke, including the benzopyrene thus, protecting you against the risk of prostate and colon cancer. It also reduces your dependence on alcohol and helps in alleviating from the system.
7. Keeps Blood Pressure under control and keeps your heart healthy
Parsley maintains the elasticity of the blood vessels and cleanses the blood, it also contains potassium which counters the effects of the sodium and keeps blood pressure and heart rate under control. It keeps your cholesterol levels in check and also prevents the chances of strokes and heart attack.
8. Maintains the overall health of your mouth
Eugenol of Parsley can act as local anesthetic in dentistry and also as an antiseptic agent for preventing infection and thus, ailments related to gums and teeth. It also provides freedom from bad breath.
9. Regulates Blood sugar levels and helps in metabolism
The Eugenol present in Parsley can help in reducing the sugar levels in the blood, and the various vitamins present in it can act as co-enzymes, to aid in the metabolism of fat, carbohydrates and proteins.
10. Maintains the health of kidney and also acts as a diuretic
Parsley is instrumental in removing small sized stones from kidney and bladder and normalizing their functioning. It also enhances the excretion of sodium and water from the kidney and supports the resorption of the potassium, thereby, increasing the Diuresis and further, it also prevents the inflammation and congestion of bladder and kidneys.
The diuretic properties of parsley also make it effective in the treatment of amenorrhea; absence of menstrual cycle and dysmenorrhoea, the condition of very painful menstruation, in women.
These are merely the main benefits of Parsley, as, in addition to these, this herb can provide instant relief from bruises as well as mosquito bites. It also protects your body organs including spleen, liver, endocrine and digestive organs from damage, enhances your sexual powers and also works as an aphrodisiac.
Precautions to be taken while consuming Parsley
Along with these many benefits, there are also some precautions to be taken, while using this herb; especially the pregnant women should avoid using Parsley in form of supplement, as it can be harmful for their health, but, they need not cut its routine consumption in food, as it won’t be harmful in raw form, in small quantities.
You should also avoid direct oral intake of Parsley oil, as it can lead to photosensitivity.
So, you can see that, there are not many side effects for this herb, but its benefits are innumerous. The list of the health benefits of Parsley can never be all-inclusive, as it is very difficult to list all of them, and still new ones are being discovered each day. But, nevertheless I have told you enough, to make you realize the potential and capabilities of this herb and the rest; that you will get to know, as you start using it in your daily life. With these benefits, you can also consider one more thing; it will make your food look delicious and green!