The most common use for parsley, is joining an orange slice in garnishing your breakfast plate. Or, dried and diced finely, and used to season foods that go well with traditional Italian seasonings. Aside from being an attractive garnish, and a tasty seasoning, parsley has a multitude of medicinal and nutritional uses. So maybe once you know all of the reasons this common, easy-to-grow, herb is good for nearly every part of your body, you will be brainstorming ways to incorporate this secret ingredient into normally parsley-free meals.
One of the volatile oils found in parsley, is myristicin. Though more studies are needed to provide definitive proof, it has been shown to have a tumor halting effect on animals in one study. Another benefit that myristicin offers is it’s ability to activate the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase. This enzyme aids in combining glutathione molecules that have been oxidized, and would be harmful to the body without the enzyme present. Parsley’s volatile oils make it considered what’s known as a chemoprotective food. Chemoprotective foods help protect the body against carcinogenic materials. Myristicin is not commonly found in most foods, so its presence in parsley is just one of health benefits that makes parsley so uniquely healthful.
Another compound present in parsley that offers many health benefits, is the flavonoid luteolin. Initial research has shown that luteolin has antioxidant properties, making it possess potential cancer inhibiting properties. Although research on luteolin is still in it’s infancy, it has also been shown to have a wealth of other medicinal uses. Luteolin is theorized to be an anti-inflammatory, have a positive effect on septic shock, and has been recommended for people who suffer from multiple sclerosis. One proven job that luteolin does, is work as a monoamine transporter activator. Luteolin is one of the few compounds that have been proven to perform this task. Luteolin, like myristicin, is not found in a wide range of foods. So if you suffer from any of the above mentioned afflictions, or just want to take preventative measures to avoid them, perhaps more parsley in your diet can help alleviate your symptoms.
Folic acid goes by many names. Vitamin B9, folate, vitamin M, and vitamin Bc, are just a few of the aliases for this health-packed vitamin found in parsley. The main health benefit of this water soluble b vitamin, is it’s ability to help regulate and reduce the naturally occurring chemical homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine in the body, are linked to heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Folic acid helps break up the homocysteine, and thus helps reduce the risk of stroke, and aid in other heart-related health issues as well.
The most abundant healthy vitamin, mineral or compound found in parsley, is vitamin K. While vitamin K can be found in other leafy greens like kale and spinach, at 155.8 percent of your recommended daily value in just two tablespoons of parsley, it’s definitely a top contender for vitamin K rich foods. Vitamin K performs a number of functions within the body. The most important function that vitamin K performs, is aiding in bone health. In a number of international studies, vitamin K has also showed promising effects on preventing and potential for alleviating a number of other health issues, but further research is still needed to prove this conclusively.
Put some parsley on it!
So next time you are cooking, and perusing your spice rack for something tasty to flavor your food with, don’t pass on parsley! Not only does it make a delicious addition to so many meals, but it’s full of good stuff. We don’t always consider herbs and seasonings to be healthy for us, but when it comes to parsley, it’s one herb, that’s most definitely is good for your health.
Emily Manke is a lifestyle, health, and food blogger from Portland, Oregon. She contributes to a number of blogs, including the one for this dentist in Portland.