Parsley’s restorative powers were first discovered in the Mediterranean region of Europe. The herb was worshiped by the Greeks who used it to “anoint” their victorious athletes and decorate the tombs of the dead.
Revered for its role as a food garnish – parsley as a food garnish dates back to the ancient Roman civilization – parsley also brings numerous health benefits to the table.
Parsley contains many valuable vitamins, minerals and nutrients, one of which is vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant and helps to eradicate free radicals in the water-soluble areas of the body.
Another health benefit of vitamin C is it helps boost and maintain a health immune system. This vitamin C perk also helps to prevent common colds and recurring ear infections.
Parsley is also an excellent source of vitamins K, A and folate, as well as the mineral iron.
Anti-oxidant Powers of Parsley
When free radicals build up in your body, you are more prone to the development of various diseases such as cancer, diabetes, asthma and atherosclerosis. Parsley’s oil components include limonene and alpha-thujene and such flavonoids as apigenin and luteolin.
These anti-oxidants help the body in its constant battle against free radical formation. In addition to its anti-oxidant properties luteolin is also helpful in boosting blood circulation.
Parsley is packed with anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it helpful in reducing inflammation for those suffering with arthritis and joint pain. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis sufferers can benefit from adding parsley to their meals.
Beta-carotene – A Disease Prevention Ingredient
The beta-carotene in parsley helps to reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes, colon cancer and atherosclerosis and prevent the onset of rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.
Beta-carotene is converted within the body to Vitamin A – one of the most important helpers in maintaining a healthy immune system. Beta-carotene is a nutrient that has been associated with preventing and reducing tumor growth, making parsley a cancer prevention herb.
Myristicin – A Beneficial Volatile Oil
Myristicin is a volatile oil found in parsley. Research shows that it prevents tumors in animals – especially within the lungs. This oil also activates the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, an extremely valuable oil which acts as a protective food against potential damage by carcinogens.
Eat the Garnish!
The most popular versions of parsley include Italian flat leaf and curly parsley, but there is a variety called turnip-rooted parsley which is used for its roots, similar to a turnip plant.
Choose fresh parsley when possible. After harvesting or purchasing, store parsley in a plastic bag in the refrigerator to keep it as fresh as possible to obtain maximum health benefits.
As you can see, parsley is more than a garnish for your meal or a breath freshener after a meal of garlic. You can certainly use it to cleanse the palate and freshen your breath, however, there is so much more to this herb, and that’s how it can improve your health.
So, eat the parsley garnish – it may be the healthiest thing on your plate!