Parsley benefits and nutrition

Parsley benefits and nutrition
March 16 15:21 2017

You probably recognize parsley as a familiar fresh herb or dried spice, but did you know that this everyday herb could prove to be a boon to your health? Even when eaten in small amounts, there are numerous parsley health benefits because it’s packed with beneficial nutrients, essential oils and antioxidants — to the point that it’s often called a superfood.

Parsley benefits the body in many ways and is considered a naturally effective treatment for a wide range of symptoms and diseases. Derived from the petroselinum plant, parsley and parsley essential oil have been used as a natural detox remedy, diuretic, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent for centuries in folk medicine. Today, fortunately, many studies back up health claims about parsley that traditional populations have believed for many years.

According to a 2013 report in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, parsley has been used as “a treatment of gastrointestinal disorder, hypertension, cardiac disease, urinary disease, diabetesand also various dermal diseases in traditional and folklore medicines.”

The impressive health benefits of parsley come via its active ingredients, which include phenolic compounds, antioxidant flavonoids, essential oils like myristicin and apiol, and various nutrients like vitamins K, C and A.

This makes parsley an all-natural and safe plant to include in your diet in order to act as a free radical scavenger, heart protector, brain protector, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antifungal, and even a digestion soother for its ability to help regulate bowel movements and decrease bloating.

Although more formal research is needed, there is strong evidence for all of these parsley benefits. In addition, parsley and parsley essential oil are associated with helping to fight the following symptoms and disorders:

Parsley Nutrition

½ cup of fresh chopped parsley (or about 8 tablespoons) has about:

Health Benefits of Parsley

  1. High Source of Flavonoid Antioxidants

Parsley contains a range of protective flavonoid antioxidants that are responsible for many of the disease-fighting parsley benefits being researched today. These antioxidants including luteolin, apigenin, lycopene, beta carotene and alpha carotene.

Antioxidants help to slow the aging process by fighting free radical damage, or oxidative stress, along with inflammation within the body. This is important because free radical formation is known to contribute to almost every age-related disease, including cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases and eye disorders.

When adults were given high quantities of parsley, they showed a significant improvement in lowering oxidative stress levels compared to those who didn’t receive parsley, according to a 1999 study done by The Institute of Food Safety and Toxicology. During the study participants were initially given a diet that didn’t contain sources of antioxidants. The researchers noticed that when the subjects were on the restricted diet, their oxidative stress markers rose, but when parsley was added to their diet during the second half of the study, parsley reversed the signs of oxidative stress.

  1. Provides Beneficial Essential Oils That Fight Cancer

Parsley contains unique elements in its oil known as volatile oil components — myristicin, limonene, eugenol and alpha-thujene. These powerful oil components benefit the body’s immune system and help fight cancer formation, in particular slowing tumor growth, neutralizing oxidative stress and fighting off carcinogens from harming the body.

Parsley is sometimes called a “chemoprotective” plant because it helps protect DNA from damage, stops cell mutation and helps induce apotosis, or the death of harmful cells. One of parsley’s beneficial compounds called apigenin has been found to “inhibit progestin-dependent synthesis of human breast cancer cells, significantly delaying the development of, and decreasing the incidence and multiplicity of mammary tumors”, according to research done in 2013 by the American Association of Cancer.

  1. Acts as Natural Diuretic and Helps to Relieve Bloating

Strong evidence exists that parsley can be used as a natural diuretic to help relieve water retention and ease bloating, according to a 2002 review study done by The American University of Beirut. In the study, rats given parsley seed extract showed a significant increase in the volume of urine they produced over the 24 hours following. Parsley benefits digestive health because it helps stimulate kidney production of urine and draws excess water out of the abdomen, where it can cause discomfort and indigestion.

  1. May Help Fight Kidney Stones, Urinary Tract Infections and Gallbladder Infections

According to Dr. John Christopher of the Herbal Legacy Group, “Parsley is used for inflammation of the kidneys and bladder, gravel, stones, and urine retention.”  He notes that when jaundice and venereal diseases are present, the root and leaves work well for the liver and spleen.

When other remedies fail, parsley can also help reduce edema, says Dr. Christopher. Meanwhile, parsley juice can soothe the blood vessels, particularly the capillaries and arterioles. He continues, “Parsley is remarkable for its ability to expel watery poisons, excess mucoid matter, [even] flatulence, reducing swollen and enlarged glands.”

Dr. Christopher recommends parsley tea for helping the body to detox and to fight off kidney stones, bladder and edema problems.  To treat these issues, make at least two quarts of strong parsley tea and then drink them slowly over the course of the day. Drink one half cup to a full cup every hour.

  1. Improves Digestion

Parsley, and parsley essential oil, are used to cure a number of gastrointestinal symptoms and disorders, including gas, constipation, bloating, indigestion and nausea. According to Ayurveda practices, parsley benefits digestion because parsley essential oil can help increase bile production and beneficial gastric juices that are needed for proper enzyme functions involved in food and nutrient absorption. Parsley essential oil can be added to a bath or diluted and rubbed on the stomach area for relief.

  1. Has Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties

Parsley benefits skin and dental health by fighting off infections and bacteria. Parsley’s essential oils are believed to be effective at eliminating fungus, plus it clears up bacteria-caused blemishes on the skin. The parsley oil held within the oil of the plant’s leaves, roots and seeds is considered antimicrobial; it’s used in soaps, detergents, perfumes and other hygiene products for its ability to kill bacteria and odors.

Parsley oil is very strong and can cause a skin reaction or topical burn. So, do not apply it directly to the skin, but instead mix it with a carrier oil like coconut, olive or almond oil and then apply to the skin in order to avoid any reactions.

  1. Helps Reduce Bad Breath

Another parsley benefit is that it’s a great way to naturally reduce bad breath. Parsley is a natural breath freshener because it kills the bacteria in the mouth that cause odors.

  1. Good Source of Bone-Protecting Vitamin K

Parsley provides high levels of vitamin K, an essential nutrient for maintaining bone density, fighting bone breaks and fractures. It works together with the other bone-building nutrients in parsley — calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D and magnesium.

  1. Contains Immune-Boosting Vitamin C

Parsley benefits your immune defenses due to its high levels of antioxidants, including vitamin C and vitamin A. Vitamin C helps to maintain a healthy gut environment, where much of the immune system is actually located. High intakes of vitamin Ccorrelate with lower levels of inflammation and help prevent diseases like atherosclerosis (dangerous plaque build-up in the arteries), arthritis, colon cancer, diabetes and asthma.

  1. Helps Protect Eye and Skin Health by Providing Vitamin A

Parsley nutrition is loaded with vitamin A, which includes two antioxidants — pro-vitamin A carotenoid and beta-carotene — used by the body and that can boost eye health. These antioxidants protect the retina and cornea from damage as someone ages, helping to prevent eye disorders like macular degeneration and cataracts. Vitamin A also fights signs of aging on the skin, protects eyes and skin from UV light damage, and may be able to help prevent skin cancer.

  1. Provides Folate That Is Needed for Heart Health

Because it’s a vital B vitamin that plays a critical role in protecting your heart, folate deficiency is very dangerous. Parsley benefits cardiovascular health because we need folate in order to convert homocysteine, a type of amino acid found in the blood. Homocysteine is a potentially troublesome molecule that can cause damage to blood vessels when uncontrolled, potentially leading to a heart attack or stroke.

  1. Helps Balance Hormones

Since it helps to prevent neural tube defects that can result when a folate deficiency takes place, the folate within parsley is also important for a healthy pregnancy. Another one of the parsley’s benefits? It’s believed to help balance hormones — important for fertility and preventing symptoms of PMS.