More than just “pretty” – 3 great reasons to add parsley to your diet NOW
(NaturalHealth365) To accent and finish off the appearance of a well-prepared platter of food, many cooks add a sprig of parsley – then call it a day. After all, the final result looks attractive. And, if someone was to decide to nibble a bit on this edible greenery, there would be no harm done. So, using a little fresh parsley as a garnish is a win/win. Right?
Wrong. As it turns out, research highlights the health-sustaining nutrients and valuable antioxidants in parsley — which can be put to much, much better use than as mere decoration. To learn about parsley’s surprising (and protective) health benefits, read on.
Parsley blocks cancer-causing compounds in grilled meats
Parsley is extraordinarily high in a flavonoid known as myricetin. According to a 2020 study published in Archives of Toxicology, myricetin can block the carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) in beef, poultry, and fish. These potentially cancer-causing compounds – which result from the reaction of creatine, amino acids, and sugar – occur in meats that have been cooked at high temperatures.
In fact, the higher the temperature and the longer the cooking time, the more HCAs are created. So, if your taste runs towards charred steaks and blackened chicken or fish (which we don’t encourage you to eat), researchers suggest pairing the food with a healthy serving size of parsley. And myricetin is not the only anticancer compound found in it.
In a recent review in Frontiers in Pharmacology, the authors noted that apigenin, an antioxidant in this herb, has been shown in studies to decrease tumor size in an aggressive form of breast cancer. Apigenin is currently being investigated as a cancer treatment, although therapeutic amounts would likely far exceed those found in a serving of parsley. Still, it’s probably not a bad idea to invite parsley to your next meal!
Benefits of parsley include maintaining healthy blood sugar levels
Over 37 million people – more than 10 percent of the United States population – are currently affected by diabetes. Scientists report that myricetin and apigenin from parsley may potentially help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, as well. While more human studies are needed, preliminary studies have shown that myricetin can keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range, remove fats from the blood and decrease insulin resistance – all helpful in addressing type 2 diabetes.
In addition, both myricetin and apigenin have anti-inflammatory effects, thereby helping to calm down the inflammation that lies at the heart of many chronic degenerative diseases.
Support strong bones with parsley
Parsley is extremely rich in vitamin K, with a mere ten sprigs of the herb providing the recommended dietary allowance for an entire day. While researchers formerly believed that the main function of vitamin K was its ability to promote normal blood clotting, scientists now credit this fat-soluble nutrient with improving calcium absorption while reducing calcium excretion in urine.
This makes vitamin K uniquely important for bone health. In fact, studies have shown that people with the highest levels of vitamin K are more likely to maintain strong bones. (Note: if you are taking blood thinners, discuss parsley consumption with your trusted integrative physician).
Add flavor, texture, and antioxidants to foods with fresh parsley
The tangy, refreshing flavor of fresh, chopped parsley makes it a great choice for accenting potatoes, soups, stews, salad dressings, omelets, and casseroles. Or, use parsley as you would basil or oregano to enliven your favorite sauce. You can also create a flavorful mixed green salad by combining fresh parsley with romaine and arugula (“rocket”) lettuce. Finally, of course, you can always incorporate parsley into your favorite green smoothie.
Parsley is generally available in Italian (flat-leaf) and curly varieties. Both are equally beneficial, so which one you use is a matter of personal preference.
Keep in mind, while the benefits of this herb are extensive, natural health experts do advise against eating it in large quantities. Regularly consuming entire bowls of it could potentially lead to ill effects such as anemia.
By the way, natural healers have long believed that parsley, in reasonable amounts, can promote bladder, kidney, digestive, and liver health. Other benefits include the fact that it is rich in vitamin C, packed with vitamin A and high in dietary fiber. And it has a well-deserved reputation as a natural breath freshener.
The takeaway: parsley is a wholesome food that should not be confined to the category of “garnish.” Add this herb to your healthy diet – and reap its protective benefits.
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