Most people know parsley for garnishing or seasoning a dish. It is widely used on television by chefs all around the world and is found many cuisines. However, few people know that parsley is actually very beneficial for your health and is ideal as part of a healthy diet for disease control and balancing your hormones. In today’s blog, I will talk about the top 8 health benefits of parsley. After reading this article, we hope you will be able to recognize this wonderful herb as a must-have in your diet!
What is Parsley?
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) belongs to the family of umbellifers, like anise, chervil (French parsley) and caraway. Originally from the Mediterranean, it is now widely produced and used all around the world. It can be easily cultured at home, so there is no reason why you shouldn’t use it!
In classic medical literature, parsley is praised for its medicinal and stimulating effects. It is readily available and you can buy it as a dried herb, or fresh from many good supermarkets and grocery shops.
Types of Parsley
Parsley, nowadays, comes in 3 main variants.
- Curly parsley – which has a curled leaf and is mostly used for garnishing dishes.
- Flat leaf parsley – the variety with the strongest flavour and therefore mostly used to enhance the tastiness of meals.
- Root parsley – as the name suggests, it has an edible root which tastes similar to celeriac (celery root). This variety is not as readily available.
Parsley can be bought as a fresh herb, as a dried herb, but also its extracts can be available as an oil. All of them are extremely beneficial!
Do We Use Parsley?
Yes! We use parsley on a daily basis. I buy a good bundle of fresh parsley every week from a local farmer’s market. This takes us through the rest of the week, and we typically add a handful in our shake, each morning. This tastes great and, according to several medical journals, it has extensive health benefits too. The best thing of all, it hardly costs anything!
Top 8 Health Benefits of Parsley
Parsley was very popular back in the days. In the middle ages, people used to cultivate lands full of parsley. They recognized it back then for its potent dosage of vitamins and minerals. It has many nice health benefits and I will discuss the best ones for you!
Parsley Boosts Your Immune System
Parsley is actually a very powerful immune system booster. Science proves that it is one of the best anti-oxidant herbs around and thus offers superior immunological support for your body to help you fight off malaise and a host of diseases.
For people who suffer from a weakened immune system, or experience regular cold and flu-like symptoms, strong science supports the recommendation of taking-in parsley on a regular basis.
Parsley Helps with Reducing Estrogen Dominance and Boosts Testosterone in Men
This one fact that is not so widely known, but not less important! Estrogen dominance is a term that is not frequently used by general practitioner doctors, but it is something real among endocrinologists and specialised physicians and sports and reproductive specialists. It indicates that there is an off-balance between estrogen and other hormones in the body, in both men and women. It does not have to mean there is too much estrogen per se, but it indicates that there is an off-balance between estrogen and progesterone, and free, and bound, testosterone, respectively. This can be caused by several things, like chronic stress, environmental estrogen (i.e. over consumption of soy-products) and by a host of other toxins and disease processes, and but also appears in menopausal women, and even young men.
Parsley has been proven to block environmental estrogens, which helps support a natural harmony among your hormones by reducing the effectiveness of aromatase, which is an enzyme that is responsible for the biosynthesis of estrogen from testosterone. By doing so, it can help alleviate estrogen dominance. This very useful property of parsley makes it a great addition to the diet for menopausal women, and men of all ages.
Furthermore, for men, parsley has significant benefits in boosting and supporting healthy levels of endogenous testosterone production. Combined with blocking, and thus reducing the impact of environmental estrogens, it has actually been proven amplify male testosterone levels. Now this might sound crazy to many people, but we live in a world where a lot of things reduce male testosterone and thus make males less – well, there is no other way to say this – male like. By eating soy, or by the exposure to foods packaged or stored in BPA’s in plastic, among other things, testosterone can be significantly lowered, while estrogen levels are increased to potentially unhealthy levels. To counter these deleterious and potentially dangerous effects, ingesting a natural herb that has an integrated male-support system, like parsley, is ideal and is the way to go. So for all you men out there: start buying and eating parsley daily! This is all science verified too!
Parsley is Loaded with Vitamins and Minerals
Fresh parsley is a great source of vitamin C. So much so, that it actually is one of the most loaded foods when it comes to vitamin C levels. This vitamin is great for a sustaining a healthy immune system, helps the uptake of iron in the body and helps with the production of connective tissue. We have spoken in depth about vitamin C in this article. Please do note that the parley has to be fresh for these insane levels of vitamin C. Dried parsley has typically lower levels.
It also includes a very healthy amount of vitamin K, which is great to increase bone strength. Furthermore it contains a lot of iron, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin A and B12. All in all, it’s a little nugget, filled with great nutrients!
Parsley Supports the Digestive Tract
A lot of people these days spend most of their day sitting down. Be it for work, or sitting down to watch television or reading a book; a lot of hours go into sitting. Apart from the negative health impact that we all know, like cardiovascular and circulatory issues, back pain, shoulder pain and neck pain, sitting down a lot can also cause issues for your digestive tract. Parsley supports your digestive process and reduces the risk of stomach ulcers and is known to modulate stomach acid production to desired levels.
Parsley Has a Diuretic Effect
There can be all sorts of reasons why your body retains water. Women might recognise this issue during their period or during hormonal fluctuations. You might also recognise water retention caused by exercise.
Fresh parsley has a natural diuretic effect and helps your body lose any excess water. In this process, it supports healthy kidney function and also helps you get rid of waste products in your body.
Recent studies show that fresh parsley might even help you treat edema and swelling of the lower extremities.
Parsley Helps you Battle Cancer
This might sound like a bold claim. We don’t say parsley can overcome cancer by itself and that is some sort of miracle cure, but parsley has been shown through scientific literature to have a potent effect against cancer. There have been several studies that show great cancer fighting effects. Read these studies here and here.
Parsley contains certain flavonoids that have a preventive effect against cancer, especially skin cancer. This means that parsley battles against the growth of cancer cells.
Furthermore, parsley is loaded with chlorophyll, which has proven effects in reducing carcinogenic effects, for example when you prepare food on the grill.
Whether it can help you personally in a battle against cancer or not, these two nutrients should be considered vital for everybody to include it in your diet.
Parsley Has a Protective Function Against Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disorder where your bones tend to become weaker and thus make you more susceptible to injuries and broken bones. It can be caused by a depletion of your calcium reserves and when the body is no longer supporting the bone-matrix of healthy bones, due to age and an array of hormonal changes (especially in aging and menopausal women). This causes your bone structure to weaken and become more prone to breaking.
Parsley again offers a great remedy for osteoporosis. Not only is parsley loaded with calcium, it also prevents certain protein-complexes from getting into your bone-matrix. Thereby aiding in reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
When you suffer from this disorder, specialised doctors, based on sound medical research, recommend using fresh parsley on a daily basis in your diet.
Parsley Counteracts Diabetes
Did you know that parsley is used as a natural treatment against diabetes in some countries? Well, neither did we! But after some research, we found that scientists were equally amazed by this claim and started their own clinical trials and studies. And what do you know: parsley appears to have a potent effect in counteracting diabetes.
So if you are suffering from diabetes or pre-diabetes, be sure to include parsley in you diet and take some every day!
Read more about fighting diabetes through a healthy diet in our blog about vegan diabetes recipes.
Some other Great Benefits of Parsley
If the benefits above weren’t enough, we have a few other cool effects of parsley that we want to mention. These extra benefits are:
- It gives you fresh breath because of the antibacterial chlorophyll.
- Strengthens your hair – use fresh parsley, pour over boiling water to it, let it sit for a night and then rinse your hair with this natural potion after shampooing.
- It helps enhance your skin by deeply cleansing your skin from the inside out.
- It has a proven effect to help you reduce the appearance of wrinkles by inherently increasing the collagen levels in your skin.
- Battles acne and pimples by keeping your skin cleaner.
- Counters tooth pain because of the antibacterial chlorophyll and by other analgesic constituents.
- Reduces the effect of burns because of the antibacterial chlorophyll and by other analgesic constituents.
- Has an anti-inflammatory effect because of the antibacterial chlorophyll and by other analgesic constituents.
Side Effects of Parsley
So is it all sunshine and rainbows with parsley?
Well actually it is, except for one small, but important side note. If you are a pregnant woman, you better not consume too much fresh parsley. It is known for inducing contractions. I think it is always best to listen to your own body when you are pregnant and when you don’t feel like eating parsley, just let it be for now.
I hope that, after reading this blog, you are thinking the same thing we thought after learning about parsley: Geez, how did I not know about this??
Right, well now you do! So take advantage and start using it in your daily diet and see how it can help you. It is not expensive, tastes great, looks great on your dish and has great health benefits. There really isn’t anything not to like about this little wonder of nature.
If you have any questions about parsley, or your health in general, please feel free to write a comment below, or contact us. We are happy to help you!