Parsley leaves have been used since ancient times as an essential seasoning and garnishing ingredient for most Indian as well as non-Indian cuisine. Besides lending the dishes a wonderful flavor and aroma, parsley also has proven health benefits.
Cultivation, Storage and Forms
Parsley can be grown easily in your kitchen garden or balcony all through the year. Parsley can be easily washed, cut and stored in vacuum packs, and they remain fresh for long. Some people find it difficult to believe that a plant so common can be so amazingly beneficial.
Not all the time leaves are preferred in cooking, and parsley leaves can be dried and preserved in packs as parsley powder (Dhania powder).
Parsley extracts are used in pharmacy for treatment of certain medical conditions.
The recommended quantity of Parsley in a person’s daily diet is 6 grams per day. As parsley can be obtained and stored easily and is available in different forms, these ensure that people consume an adequate amount of this wonder herb in their daily diet.
What makes Parsley so Healthy?
Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
The nutritional value of foods is calculated on the basis of the density and DRI/DV ratio. As per density and DRI/DV ratios found in parsley, the following has been revealed:
- Parsley is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, folate and iron
- It is a very good source of copper
- It is a good source of potassium, calcium, fiber, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin B3, vitamin B1, and manganese.
- Rich source of essential vitamins like riboflavin or vitamin B-2, pantothenic acid is commonly known as vitamin B-5, niacin as in vitamin B-3, thiamin or vitamin B-1 and pyridoxine as in vitamin B-6
Minerals are used by the body in the formation of tissues like blood contains the mineral iron, and vitamins are needed by the body in small quantities to process nutrients in the body and enable the body to maintain proper functions. Vitamin deficiency causes several diseases.
Rich in Antioxidants
Parsley is also a rich source of vitamin antioxidants and other antioxidants like Vitamin A, Beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, zeaxanthin, lutein and cryptoxanthin, apiin, apigenin, and crisoeriol.
Antioxidants are substances that get oxidized by the free radicals formed in the body as an outcome of normal processes in the cells, thereby saving the cells from getting oxidized. Excessive free radicals harm the body in several ways by oxidation and damage of the cells leading to serious conditions such as cancer, heart diseases, Alzheimer’s and several more. Excessive free radicals are produced due to pollution, excessive exertion, smoking and overexposure to ultraviolet rays.
Low in Calories and Gluten
As per database of USDA National Nutrient 10 sprigs of parsley contains
- 1gram fat
- 6-gram carbohydrates
- 1 gram sugar
Adding required quantity of parsley of 6 g daily to your diet cuts on calories but ups essential nutrients intake.
Regular consumption of parsley in adequate amounts has been known to help in the prevention of several diseases including
- Cancer: Parsley is rich in Myrecetin a constituent which helps in cancer prevention. Also due to having plentiful pigment chlorophyll, it is able to negate the carcinogenic actions of heterocyclic amines. Heterocyclic amines are formed by charring and grilling foods for a long time.
- Diabetes: Myrecetin a constituent found in parsley in substantial amounts has been tested in the laboratory, and its effects on animals have shown that it has sugar lowering and insulin resistance decreasing properties.
- Bone diseases: Vitamin K is very important for bone health and nutritional facts of parsley show that the herb is an excellent source of vitamin K. In the bones, vitamin K is used for processing proteins, in the absorption of calcium and prevention of excessive calcium loss through urine.
- Obesity: Myrecetin found amply in parsley helps in the breakdown of fatty particles in the blood and thus prevents excessive fat accumulation. Therapeutic Value Though Parsley is good for maintaining overall health and metabolism of our body systems and provides good preventive health care but the herb’s benefits are not limited to preventive care alone, in pharmacy. Parsley extract is recommended for treatment purposes also of specific medical conditions. Parsley extract is not only obtained from Parsley leaves but from all parts of the plant including seeds, roots, stem.
The therapeutic attributes of parsley include
- Expectorant properties
- Antimicrobial properties
- Aphrodisiac qualities
- Stress reducing properties
- Diuretic and laxative
- Anti-inflammatory properties
Parsley extract has been known to be used for the treatment and providing relief in the following medical conditions:
- Flatulence, colic, stomach ailments
- Gallstones and kidney conditions.
- Irregular menstrual flow, amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea
- Topical application on tumors, bites, rashes, contusions
- In dentistry applications
- Prostrate, liver and spleen conditions
- Anemia, arthritis and cancers.
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