Parsley is a nutrient-dense herb, which has almost all the important nutrients like vitamin B12, beta carotene, vitamin C, fluorine, folic acid, Vitamin K chlorophyll, calcium, iron and essential fatty acids. It is found in two varieties: tightly curled, green mossy variety; and Italian parsley, which is deeply-divided flat leaves almost resembling celery.
There is another variety, called the Hamburg parsley, which are white turnip-like roots or tall fern-like leaves. Parsley is an excellent addition to your daily diet if you just get used to its slightly bitter or pungent, salty taste.
Parsley is loaded with nutrients. It contains:
- Traces of vitamin B12 that helps in maintaining a healthy nervous system and DNA synthesis.
- Beta carotene [a potent antioxidant] that prevents ageing, night blindness and other eye problems. It also boosts immunity, protects against toxins and cancer formations.
- Folic acid that plays a vital role in maintaining good cardiovascular health. It aids proper cell multiplication and maturation.
- Fluorine and calcium, which are essential in tooth and bone development. Parsley also prevents tooth decay and bad breath.
- Chlorophyll, which has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and anti inflammatory properties. It is also effective against nasal congestion, sinusitis and body odour.
- Alpha-linolenic acid, an important essential fatty acid that acts against cancer and is essential for good brain health. It slows the build-up of atherosclerotic plaques, which cause hardening of the arteries thus preventing cardiac diseases and lowering blood pressure.
- It has more vitamin C than most of the vegetables and even oranges.
Due to the presence of multiple nutrients, parsley has the following therapeutic uses:
- Helps fight against common cold, fevers and infections.
- Aids in treating anaemia due to its high iron and folic acid content.
- Has diuretic properties and helpful in treating many kidney disorders.
- Stimulates digestion, reduces inflammation, regulates the menstrual cycle and relieves menstrual pain.
- Acts as an immunity booster.
- Purifies blood and hence is used to treat many liver diseases.
- Fights free radical attack thus helpful in treating cancer, prevent ageing and cardiovascular diseases.
- Inhibits histamine secretions during allergy attacks and thus is useful in treating hives and other such allergy symptoms.
Adding it to your diet
Here is how you can add parsley to your diet:
- Add chopped parsley mixed with lime juice over some cut veggies like chopped bell peppers, baby corn, carrots to make a delicious crunchy salad.
- Add chopped parsley to tomato or pumpkin soup to make it more zesty and delicious.
- Use parsley paste with lime, ginger and garlic to marinate fish, chicken, and lamb.
- Add chopped parsley while making juice of carrot, beetroot and orange. This is a very refreshing vitamin-booster drink.
- Add chopped parsley with cottage cheese and corn while making grilled sandwich.
- Sprinkle it over any of the salads with your favourite dressing.
- Consume fresh parsley juice as a healthy herbal drink.
Take caution regarding the following:
- Parsley should not be consumed by pregnant women in large amounts as oil from parsley can stimulate contractions of the uterine muscles and possibly result in pre-term labour or may even cause abortion.
- Parsley contains large amounts of oxalates, which if it becomes too concentrated in the body may, crystallise and cause kidney stones in people who are predisposed to kidney problems.
- Parsley tea if had in excess amounts can lead to internal bleeding in case of warfarin therapy.
Clean fresh parsley by cutting off the ends of the stems and washing them. The washed parsley leaves should then be placed in paper towels and refrigerated immediately so that they remain fresh.
Check that the parsley is not very moist as it may spoil soon. Use only fresh parsley as the dried variety is inferior to it in flavour as well as nutritive value.