The Amazing Health Benefits of Parsley
While many of us probably think of Parsley as merely a garnish for a well-presented dish, it turns out that this relative of celery is a member of the esteemed group of commonly used herbs that can be considered “super herbs,” because of the numerous nutrients they contain and all the health benefits that they can provide. For example, the flavenoids in parsley have been shown to function as powerful antioxidants that can help to prevent oxidation damage to the body's cells. The beta-carotine found in parsley has also been found to have potent antioxidant attributes, which may be helpful in reducing the symptoms of asthma and osteoarthritis. Parsley is also an excellent source of vitamins A and C.
But this is only scratching the surface of parsley's healthful qualities. Another unique aspect of this herb are its volatile oil components, such as myristicin, eugenol and limonene. These volatile oils, especially myristicin, have actually been demonstrated in animal studies to inhibit tumor formation, particularly in the lungs. The cancer prevention potential of this is self-evident. The activities of these volatile oils help to qualify parsley as a “chemoprotective food,” that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens, such as the benzopyrenes that can be found in charcoal and cigarette smoke. With all of the toxins we inhale every day in our modern world this little herb may just prove to be a lifesaver.
Parsley is also perhaps the richest herbal source available for Vitamin K, providing over 1000% of the recommended daily intake of this important vitamin. Vitamin K appears to play a role in bone health by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bones. It may also play a role in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, by limiting neuronal damage in the brain. Parsley has also been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Make it a daily part of your diet and you will feel relief from joint pain and swelling.
These are just a few of the important health benefits that parsley can provide. The healthful qualities of parsley have been known to Ayurvedic Science for thousands of years, and this herb has been used to treat a number of ailments including flatulence and dyspepsia. As a historical side note, it was actually the ancient Romans who started the practice of using parsley as a garnish for dishes, among several other uses. The Romans were likely well aware of the health benefits of this herb, but they may also have thought that it added to the aesthetic appeal of the plate. The garnish practice continued through the ages, but somewhere along the line most of us apparently forgot about the health superpowers contained within this humble herb. We should all be making parsley a more substantial part of our diets.