What is Parsley?
Parsley leaves are an attractive plant with small, scalloped leaves, but it has more than a pretty appearance. It’s an annual herb thought to have originated in southeastern Europe or western Asia, now grown in gardens throughout the world.
There are two basic parsley types: one with curly, crinkly leaves and the more familiar Italian parsley, which is flat. The latter is hardier for withstanding cold in Northern or Midwest gardens.
Health Benefits of Parsley
There is some evidence that parsley can support healthy kidney function. However, the herb contains oxalates, which can cause problems for those with existing kidney and gall bladder problems.
Use parsley daily, and you’ll feel relief from joint pain. That’s because the herb has anti-inflammatory properties.
Parsley tea relaxes stiff muscles and encourages digestion. It has been used traditionally for an array of other health issues, as well.
Improving bone health: Low intakes of vitamin K have been associated with a higher risk for bone fracture. Adequate vitamin K consumption (which parsley provides in just 10 sprigs) improves bone health by acting as a modifier of bone matrix proteins, improving calcium absorption and reducing urinary excretion of calcium.
Diabetes prevention: Myricetin has also been evaluated for its effectiveness in the treatment and prevention of diabetes. In vitro and animal studies have showed that myricetin may lower blood sugars as well as decrease insulin resistance and provide anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperlipidemia effects.
Parsley is an excellent source of beta carotene, an antioxidant that can help protect the body against free-radical damage and fight the effects of aging.
Uses of Parsley
Fresh chopped parsley has a spicy, peppery flavor and pairs well with potatoes, tomato-based sauces, poultry dishes, grain-based salads, seafood, Mediterranean flavors and egg dishes.
Throw a few sprigs of parsley into your favorite green juice
Add it to your smoothies. Parsley makes a refreshing addition to your morning smoothie! It might sound like a weird flavor to pair with fruit, but it makes a fruity smoothie surprisingly refreshing.
Drizzle it onto your salads. Like in a smoothie, parsley adds a lovely flavor to creamy salad dressings.
Add chopped parsley to any homemade salad dressing.
Nutritional Value of Parsley
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, 10 sprigs of parsley contains 4 calories, 0.3 grams of protein, 0.1 grams of fat, 0.6 grams of carbohydrate, 0.3 grams of fiber and 0.1 grams of sugar. Just 10 sprigs provide 205% of vitamin K needs for the day, as well as 22% of vitamin C and 17% of vitamin A.