10 Health Benefits of Parsley
What is parsley?
Parsley is a small herb with dark green leaves that is popularly used as a garnish to different soups and dishes due to its fragrant aroma being emitted by its flavorful leaves. However, not many people know that this little green herb does not only offer a delicious taste and fresh twist to our dishes but this very popular herb also contains invaluable healing properties and numerous medicinal benefits.
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How to Grow Parsley
Parsley, or Petroselinum crispum, originated from the Mediterranean region of Southern Europe. There are two types of parsley — the curly-leaf type and the flat-leaf type. The curly-leaf type has a blander taste; hence, it is more commonly used as a garnish in salads, soups, and other dishes. On the other hand, the flat-type leaf, or the Italian variety, is more flavorful and is more often used in cooking because it can retain its flavor despite the heat.
It is very easy to grow a plant of parsley in your little garden or flower pot as long as you have a moist soil that is rich in humus and a partly shaded area. Parley seeds can be propagated as early as February and get a good harvest in late summer. When you plant parsley in July, it will give you a harvest during late fall and early winter season. Although it takes longer to grow during the first year, it dies back during winter.
Parsley are normally planted directly into the soil but it can also be grown indoors. It is necessary to keep parsley moist and warm under the sun for three to eight hours. You can transfer the plant when they have grown two inches tall, 10-15 inches away from each other.
Benefits of Parsley
Parsley is an incredible medicinal herb with a delightful taste and pleasant to the digestive system. It does not only make our dishes tastier but also helps our body healthier.
This little green herb may be small but it is very big in nutrition. Parsley contains high level of Vitamin A, Vitamin B9, Vitamin B12, Vitamin K, and beta-carotene. It is also rich in calcium, iron, antioxidants, and various essential oils.
Unfortunately, most people do not realize the nutrients found in this herb. Here are ten reasons why we should not only use parsley for garnish but also consume them. Read on and learn the various health benefits of parsley.
1. Fights cancer
Studies reveal that the essential oil of parsley contains myristicin, an organic compound that inhibits that does not only prevents the formation of lung tumors but also activates glutathione-S-transferase enzyme that help fight oxidized molecules. Myristicin also assists in fighting prostate and colon cancers by neutralizing carcinogens, such as benzopyrene in smokes of cigarettes.
A study conducted in University of Missouri also found out that apigenin, which can be extracted from natural sources like parsley, is an effective treatment against breast cancer cells. In the study, some mice were implanted with human breast cancer cells and then treated with medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), a certain type of progestin that is commonly recommended to post-menopausal women. The mice were divided into two groups: one group received apigenin while the other did not. It was then observed that cancerous tumors grew fast in the group of mice that did not receive apigenin. On the contrary, the growth of cancer cells dropped for the apigenin-treated mice. Likewise, the breast cancer tumors shrank.
2. Rich in antioxidants
Parsley has been found to be rich in various antioxidants, such as luteolin, a flavonoid that eliminates free radicals in the body. It also removes toxins from the body and encourages carbohydrate metabolism. The high level of zea-xanthin found in parsley prevents macular degeneration, an eye disease caused by aging.
Parsley also contains betacarotene and Vitamin C, two of the most powerful antioxidants for the body. Vitamin C is the chief water-soluble antioxidant of the body, which helps reduce the risks of various conditions, such as atherosclerosis, colon cancer, diabetes, and asthma. Similarly, betacarotene reduces the risk of developing atherosclerosis, colon cancer, and diabetes. Betacarotene also lessens the serious implications of asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis.
3. Effective inflammatory agent
Parsley contains luteolin and vitamin C that is an effective anti-inflammatory agent of the body. Regularly eating parsley helps prevent inflammatory illnesses, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, arthritis, and certain types of cancers. Likewise, applying parsley to areas with insect bites reduce inflammation.
4. Strengthens the immune system
Parsley has high levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, and betacarotene that boosts the immune system of the body and protects it from colds, cough, and other infections. It also keeps bones and teeth healthy, and assists the body to repair wounds quickly.
Parsley is also rich in beta-carotene, which the body converts to Vitamin A, that aids the body in fighting infection and ensures better vision. Vitamin A also strengthens the lining of the eyes and mucus membranes as well as respiratory, intestinal, and urinary tracts.Likewise, Vitamin A also produces white blood cells that destroy viruses and bacteria.
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5. Strengthens bones
Parsley is a nutritious organic food that is rich in Vitamin K. Two tablespoons of parsley contains 153% RDA of Vitamin K, which makes our bones stronger and prevents build-up of calcium in our tissues that may result to stroke, atherosclerosis, and other cardiovascular disease. Vitamin K also plays an important role in healing Alzheimer’s disease by regulating the neuronal damage in the brain.
6. Removes gallstones
When bile acids and cholesterol in the gallbladder becomes hard, they develop into tiny deposits of stones, more commonly known as gallstones.
Parsley contains oxalic acid that cleanses and boosts the kidneys. Drinking a pint of parsley tea every day helps in dissolving gallstones and kidney stones. Parsley tea can also be taken with boiled onions or juniper berries.
To prepare parsley tea, boil a liter of water and steep two sprigs of parsley for about 10 to 15 minutes. Add lemon or honey. Parsley tea can be taken hot or cold.
7. Wards off cardiovascular diseases
Researches showed that parsley contains Vitamin B9, also known as folate, which protects the body from cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke. Vitamin B9 also remove homocysteine in the body; hence, keeping the heart healthy.
It is also known that parsley contains the highest level of potassium that helps control blood pressure and heart rate by reversing the effects of sodium. Potassium assists the kidneys in eliminating waste material in the body. It also promotes healthy skin and regulates the alkaline level of the blood and body fluids.
Studies also showed that raw parsley purifies the blood, dissolves accumulated deposits and residues that stick in the veins, and maintains the elasticity of the blood vessels.
8. Eliminates strong mouth odor
Parsley is a wonderful natural breath freshener that eliminates the pungent smell in the mouth. Drinking parsley juice or nibbling parsley leaves after eating foods that have intense odor, such as garlic or onion, can assist in releasing the strong mouth odor.
9. Remedy for anemia
The benefits of parsley are vast. They include almost everything -- from helping people suffering from anemia and bad breath to baldness, even cancer and stroke!
The Natural Health Technique reported that parsley fights anemia because it contains high concentration of iron. Therefore, consuming parsley regularly helps build up the iron level in the body. Furthermore, patients who have trouble taking iron supplements are advised to drink parsley juice.
10. Relieves menstrual pain
Studies revealed that parsley can be beneficial to women as it helps prevent breast cancer, promotes delayed menstruation and relieves premenstrual pain. Sprigs of parsley are used as vaginal insert to relax the cervix and trigger menstruation.
A Word of Caution
Pregnant women are advised to limit the consumption of parsley because it may cause uterine contraction, which may result to abortion and premature birth. Parsley juice should also be reduced to 1 or 2 ounces a day. Moreover, using parsley oil should be done with the supervision of a medical practitioner as it may cause toxic effect. Similarly, patients with problems on gallbladder and kidneys are not recommended to consume parsley.
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