Parsley was held in high regard by the Greeks. It was used to honor athletes who won. It was also used to decorate the tombs. It found its use in medicine before Romans introduced it to garnish food. It has been cultivated for over 2000 years now. Today, parsley is available in different types.
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a culinary and medicinal herb native to the Mediterranean. The leaves, stems, and seeds of the herb are used in many recipes. Parsley is rich in nutrients and antioxidants. Anecdotally, it has been known to help reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and allergies. It is used in making soaps, creams, perfumes. Parsley is good for the skin due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities.
Half a cup (30 g) of fresh, chopped parsley provides 11 calories, 2 grams of carbs, 1 gram of protein, 1 gram of fat, and 1 gram of fiber. It is a rich source of vitamin A (8424 IU), vitamin C (133 mg), vitamin K (1640 µg), folic acid (152 µg ), and potassium (554 mg). Parsley also contains flavonoids, carotenoids, and vitamin C that have antioxidant properties.
Curled leaf or common parsley is often used as a garnish in soups, stews, and other dishes. It has a crunchy texture. Flat leaf parsley or Italian parsley has a stronger flavor than the curled leaf parsley. It is also used in salads, stews, soups, and sauces as a garnish. Hamburg or German parsley is one type whose turnip-shaped root is used instead of its leaves. The root can be fried or used in stews and soups for flavor.
Parsley is rich in nutrients, such as copper, zinc, manganese, calcium, and potassium, that are essential for healthy skin. Anti-Aging: The vitamin C in parsley helps in slowing down aging. It works by fighting free radicals that cause oxidative stress. The nutrient also helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It helps in cell repair and stimulates collagen production. This helps the skin look supple and young. Anti-acne: The antimicrobial properties in parsley may help in fighting bacteria and reducing acne. Parsley may also balance out excess sebum. However, there are no studies to support this claim. Anti-inflammatory: Parsley contains antioxidants that may help in reducing irritation and redness of the skin. Evens Skin Tone And Reduces Pigmentation: The vitamin C in the herb can brighten the skin and reduce uneven spots. Vitamin C may also help reduce hyperpigmentation.
May Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Parsley and its essential oil are rich in an antioxidant called myristicin. Myristicin may help regulate blood sugar levels. It may also lower insulin resistance and inflammation. However, more research is needed to understand these effects.
May Aid Kidney Health
Parsley is a natural diuretic. It may help remove toxins and germs from the body. Rats fed with parsley seed extract showed more urine output than when they were drinking just water. Parsley may inhibit the sodium potassium pump that is involved in the urine regulation in kidneys. Animal studies further suggest that parsley has nephroprotective effects on rats with renal issues.
May Have Anti-Cancer Effects
Parsley is rich in flavonoids that are known to have anti-cancer properties. The flavonoids inhibit cell growth and reduce oxidative stress. Animal research has found that apigenin, a flavonoid found in parsley seeds, could help in killing cancer cells and decreasing the size of the tumors. Studies on cancer cell lines have also found apigenin to exhibit anti-proliferation, anti-inflammation, and anti-metastasis properties in colorectal cancer. Apigenin is found to have anti-carcinogenic effects on breast cancer. Another anti-carcinogenic flavonoid found in parsley is luteolin. Research has stated that luteolin may have preventive effects on colorectal cancer. Parsley also contains carnosol, another compound with promising results in treating cancers of the breast, skin, colon, and prostate.
May Improve Heart Health
Parsley has been used in folk medicine to help treat hypertension. The rich flavonoid content in parsley helps in improving heart health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Parsley is also a good source of folic acid. Folate intake is associated with good heart health. Low levels in folate can be harmful for the heart. Hence, including parsley in one’s diet can be helpful in this regard.
May Support Bone Health
Parsley is a good source of vitamin K. The vitamin helps in the formation of bone cells called osteocytes. Parsley was found to inhibit bone resorption (a process where bones and absorbed and broken down by the body) in rats.
May Help In Digestion
Traditionally, parsley is used to help treat digestive and gastrointestinal disorders. The fiber content in parsley helps in digestion. It helps in moving the food in the digestive tract and also acts as a prebiotic fodder for the good bacteria in the gut. Parsley extracts were found to have an anti-ulcer effect in mice studies. They achieved this by inhibiting the excess secretion of gastric juice.
May Boost Immunity
Parsley contains many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, including flavonoids. Apigenin fights inflammation in the body. Parsley also contains vitamin C. The nutrient is a potent antioxidant that boosts the immune system. Parsley contains flavonols, such as kaempferol and quercetin, that fight oxidative stress and cellular damage.
May Enhance Liver Health
Parsley could regulate cholesterol and have a protective effect on the liver of rats. Other studies have found that parsley can help in the regeneration of liver cells and regulate enzymes in the liver in mice with diabetes.
Has Antibacterial Properties
Parsley has traditionally been used for its ability to fight germs. In a study, parsley showed antimicrobial activity in kareish cheese. The essential oil from parsley has exhibited both antibacterial and antifungal activity. It could inhibit the growth of bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes. It could also protect against the fungi Penicillium ochrochloron and Trichoderma viride.
May Help Protect The Eyes
Parsley contains vitamin A, a nutrient that can help in improving eye health. Parsley also contains carotenes, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, that help in protecting the eyes. These pigmented antioxidants help in keeping the eyes healthy by preventing oxidative damage. They reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.