Parsley. Easily found in just about any supermarket at any time of the year, this herb, scientifically known as Petroselinum crispum, has health benefits that ensure its place as one of the necessary staples for any modern diet.
From smoothies to salads, this versatile leafy green is something that will not only help you maintain a healthy lifestyle but just by consuming it, it will make you feel as though you are a right health guru.
Having originated in the southern parts of Italy, Tunisia, and Algeria, parsley is one of those foods that has become widely-accessible.
Though the plant is not something that most households buy with their weekly grocery list. It is more of a “buy when the recipe calls for it” type of ingredient. That needs to be remedied.
With health properties akin to vitamins currently on the market, parsley is one of the most underrated, transformative herbs there is. The fact that it is something that can be incorporated into so many of our everyday meals.
Whether using the fresh herb or dried spice, knowing parsley’s distinct properties will not only make you healthier, but the knowledge of how it works makes it the perfect ingredient to keep in your kitchen.
Parsley Health Benefits
There are a plethora of health benefits to using parsley, some of which are listed below.
1. Pain Reliever
One of Parsley’s best-known health benefits is as a pain reliever. Vitamin C and its anti-inflammatory nature could make sports injuries more bearable and general pains more tolerable. Parsley also contains a volatile oil called eugenol, that can help dull the pain that is caused by rheumatoid arthritis. [R] [R]
Stomach cramps, nausea, and bloating are also inconvenient realities that can be aided by the ingestion of this abundant plant. It not only relieves some of the struggles with gastrointestinal issues such as indigestion but also helps build up the immune system. [R]
2. Antioxidants and Vitamins
In addition to these medicinal benefits, parsley can also be consumed for its numerous antioxidants and vitamins. Research points to its ability to help protect our cells from free radical damage and keep up our metabolism and general well-being. [R]
When ingesting its leaves, it can be reassuring to hear that they contain not only carbohydrates but also proteins and fats. Its volatile compounds like limonene and myristicin also show how much of a health plant parsley is.
While it just so happens to be a good source of iron and vitamin B6 due to its dark green nature, it also has enough of niacin, folate, zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, and vitamin A, K, and E to make a real impact in your diet. [R] [R]
3. Urinary Tract Infections
While not as popular, there are those who use parsley as an aid for their urinary tract infections. While this mainly goes along as another natural pain reliever, many of the nutrients previously stated have actually been known to help with UTI. [R]
Parsley roots is an ingredient in many prescribed pain reliever drugs. By having parsley on-hand, it can do a lot to facilitate the healing process when faced with such infections or health problems.
4. Liver Detoxification
In fact, liver detoxification is one of the main uses of parsley juice. This is why many hangover cures have been known to include parsley as one of the main ingredients. Not only because of the obvious health benefits but also because it really takes that extra step to help in liver detoxification. It also aids in creating a sense of normalcy the morning after a period of alcohol drinking.
5. Kidney Cleanser
It is often recommended for those who have recently suffered kidney stones. In the form of a smoothie, and when paired with other ingredients such as cucumber and watermelon, parsley can also be used to detoxify the kidneys. This not only helps with, as mentioned, passing kidney stones but supports overall healthy kidney function. [R] [R]
One of the more consistent uses of parsley that can be applied to the average person’s life is its work as an appetite-inducer. It stimulates the glands just enough so that a person gets their appetite back, even after a long period of stress.
Parsley has also been shown to improve digestion in its leaf form due to the breakdown process and the nutrients that are released because of it.
7. Treats and Prevents Iron Deficiency
Especially with vegetarians and vegans, iron deficiency is common. That is why it is so important to note that just two tablespoons of parsley provide enough iron to make up 2% of your necessary daily intake. That is one of the reasons why parsley is consistently recommended to those with anemia. [R]
Combine this with all the other vitamins and nutrients that make it the rich and refreshing herb that it is. It is clearly not hard to see how much of an impact just the smallest incorporation of this leafy vegetable could make in your life.
8. Promotes Healthy Bone Health
The abundance of vitamin K that is found in parsley is actually what makes it a great help in bone health. The beta-carotene that can be found is a specific antioxidant that provides anti-aging benefits to those who consume it. The nutrient-packed leaves are what make parsley such a necessary component of a healthy diet. [R]
9. Prevents Cancer
Early studies suggested that there were compounds in parsley that could aid in the resistance of tumor growth. A recent study in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture solidifies the fact that parsley contains powerful and potent cancer-fighting compounds. [R]
First, the antioxidants destroy free radicals before they have the opportunity to damage the cells, then it actually protects the DNA against harm. It also has properties that will inhibit the formation, reproduction, and movement of cancerous cells in the body. [R]
Research is still being done about this, but it just goes to show what a superfood parsley really is.
How To Use
Just as there are many different and distinct ways in which parsley is able to help the body fight off and prevent all different sorts of diseases, there are also numerous ways in which to prepare parsley so to maintain a number of its unique health properties.
The first, and likely the easiest, would be to chop up its leaves in order to use in a salad. Often times mixed with quinoa so as to create a nutritious, filling meal, it allows for the leaves to retain all of their natural health benefits.
It is a well-known fact that raw vegetables include more of their nutrients than they do if they were to be cooked, where it is a commonplace activity for multiple nutrients to be lost in the cooking stages. However, that is not to say that parsley should never be cooked.
In fact, cooking with parsley leaves allows for it to act as part of virtually any meal, from salads to sandwiches to pasta, while keeping its level of iron. This is vital for vegans or vegetarians, who have to consciously search for foods high in iron to maintain their respective lifestyle.
Blending the leaves would also be an effective way to reap the health benefits that they provide. It allows for all of the health benefits of parsley to be present while being presented in a convenient smoothie. This is also the best way if you are looking for a fix for any digestive or gastrointestinal issues such as indigestion, cramps or nausea.
It allows for a smooth transition from intake to the stomach, with its mostly-liquid nature eliminating the need for heavy processing or digesting once it enters the body.
Another way, and perhaps the most efficient way, to fully reap the health benefits that parsley offers is to juice the leaves. This is different than making a smoothie because the product will be a more concentrated version of whatever is put into the smoothie, meaning that less of it would be required for the same quantity of nutrients.
Often times, lemon juice is the best ingredient to aid the juicing process due to the way in which it contrasts the vitamins and minerals that are already in the parsley. This means that the outcome is even more nutrient-rich than before.
Additionally, this is the recommended way to ingest the product when the end goal is primarily liver or kidney flushing due to the liquid base that will target those two areas.
One health benefit of parsley is that it will promote cell repair and reproduction, as previously mentioned, and can even help prevent cancerous cells from evolving. The other upside to this is that it will also lead to the faster growth of a new layer of skin.
Smoother skin is often the result of this, as parsley contains anti-aging antioxidants. Waiting for these things to happen purely through ingestion is too flippant for some, and so there has been a recent increase in popularity concerning the use of an external method to aid the process.
Often times, you can find creams and face masks in stores that contain parsley in order to achieve the no-wrinkle effect. However, to keep things even more natural, there is always the option of applying the plant directly to the outside of the skin.
By creating a mixture of finely chopped parsley, lemon juice, and honey, it would then be able to be placed upon one’s face in order to fully soak into the skin cells.
Another solution for the treatment of muscle spasms or digestion issues would be by making parsley tea from its herb form. Leaves, roots, or even seeds can be used to brew tea, and its benefits are numerous.
For one thing, it is perfect to settle the stomach and easily remedy the stomach and gastrointestinal issues that parsley has the capacity to help with. Parsley tea is also a quick and reliable answer to urinary tract infection issues or even aid with menstrual flow.
Taken in either of its forms of leaves roots or seed tea, the herbal remedy has many of the same properties as juicing the parsley would have, except in a more subtle manner that makes it perfect for a daily dose rather than a dosage of every second day.
Any of the forms will have the same properties as each other, so it is really a personal choice of preference between the three. Parsley is such a versatile and reliable herb that no matter how it gets prepared, the health benefits will be plentiful.
As mentioned, parsley juice is both a powerful and potent way to take in your daily dose of nutrients. With such, it’s not recommended to ingest it this way every day.
During a juice cleanse, it is only recommended to include a parsley juice around every second day, and in a regular time-frame, parsley juice should be ingested sparingly.
When using the parsley, lemon juice, and honey mixture on the face to help the skin cells that reside there, it is important to note that it should not be used daily. Such a face mask can dry out the skin and even, when used for lengthy periods of time, make the face less resistant to the sun. With such, it is a good idea to limit the usage to no more than twice a week.
Pregnant women should also be wary when ingesting parsley in its raw or medicinal form consistently. This is because the numerous nutrients found in it are so potent that, when coupled with the hormones of pregnancy, parsley could cause serious side effects.
It has been known to act as a method of commencing a woman’s menstrual flow and, in extreme cases, even causing abortions. In some cultures, parsley has a history of being used as a method for natural abortion.
The important thing is just to be conscious of how many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients parsley really has.
Where to Buy
The purchase of parsley is not a difficult thing considering its low price and abundance in local health food stores. While it is more of a summer plant than a winter plant, it can still be found year-round at most supermarkets.