Parsley, that little green leafy herb that you get on the side of your plate at the restaurant which you usually discard at the end of the meal is actually something you should be paying a bit more attention to because the health benefits of this tasty herb are many and varied.
In fact, Parsley has a huge amount of vitamins and minerals with twice as much iron as spinach and 153% of the US RDA of vitamin K in a mere serving. But the health benefits of parsley don’t stop there, it’s also loaded with vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B, copper, calcium, potassium, folic acid and a variety of flavonoids. Turns out, parsley not only looks good on your plate, but also improves your health.
Parsley Health Benefits
There’s so many parsley benefits I don’t even know where start. First of all, like many herbs it can help with digestion so, maybe it’s no coincidence that it is included on the plates of many meals. It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory herb that is loaded with antioxidants.
Parsley also has some unique compounds in it that can help protect you against certain carcinogens like cigarette smoke. One of the oils found in parsley, myristicin, has been shown in studies done on animals to inhibit tumor formation, particularly those in the lung.
Traditionally, Parsley has been used as a good detoxifying herb for the kidneys and is said to be effective in reducing urine retention as well as being a good tonic for the liver and spleen. It’s also reputed to be able to help treat kidney stones as well as gallstones.
Other parsley health benefits include helping the brain and nervous system. As well as the adrenal glands. It is said to boost the health of the arterioles and capillaries and help maintain elasticity in your veins as well as cleanse your blood, thus helping reduce cardiovascular disease. Since it has high levels of vitamin B 9 it can help naturally lower homocysteine levels which in turn can help lessen the risk of clogged arteries, stroke and heart attack.
Which Type Is Best?
There’s actually over 100 varieties of parsley, but you typically only see 2 main types in the store. Italian parsley which is sometimes called flat leaf parsley and curly parsley. fThe flat leaf has more essential oils which make it stronger tasting and this is definitely the type of parsley you want to use in your cooking.
You should always be using fresh parsley and you can buy bunches of it in pretty much any store these days. To store it just set the stems and water and cover it with a bag and stick them right in your fridge. I usually put him right in the door along with some other herbs stored in the same manner. You can keep parsley this way for a week or more.
How To Eat More Parsley
There’s a couple ways that you can get more fresh parsley into your diet. My preferred way is to make a salad out of it because that way you are getting the fresh, raw parsley with all the enzymes and raw goodness in it. What I do is I chop up equal amounts of parsley and basil adding a few pieces of chopped tomato and top it off with some parmigiano reggiano cheese that I peel off in strips to give it a bit of a bite. Sprinkle on some fresh ground pepper and just a tad of pinch of salt drizzle olive oil and lemon juice and you’ve got a healthy and refreshing salad that’ll give you a vitamin energy boost.
Another way to enjoy the health benefits of parsley is in a parsley tea. Just like any other herb, you can make a tea out of Parsley.
Fresh parsley tea is best and what you want to do is pour one cup of boiling water over 1/4 cup parsley leaves. You can use an infusion basket for this or just put the leaves in a pot and allow it steep for 5 to 7 min. then drain the leaves out of the wate. Add some honey and you’ve got a tasty parsley tea for nice fresh afternoon pick me up.
Growing Your Own Parsley
Parsley is a biennial herb that can be grown pretty much anywhere in the world, so you can enjoy the benefits of parsley fresh from your garden every day if you are so inclined. You can grow it outdoors in your garden or in pots when your kitchen window sill. If you do plant in a pot, make sure it is deep because parsley has a long taproot so will require a deep pot. It does need about 6 hours of sun a day and regular consistent watering.
Parsley grows best in moist, rich soil and will get to be about 2 feet tall and produce small white or greenish yellow flowers. It’s great to plant in your garden because it attracts wasps and flies that eat other garden pests so it can help keep your other plants from being devoured by plant eating insects.
Parsley Tastes Good And Is Good For You Too!
So the next time you eat out, don’t push that Parsley aside – pop it in your mouth and chew it for better digestion and a whole load of health benefits.