The parsley leaves benefits are its antioxidants and vitamins and minerals that will help the body combat diseases and maintain proper functioning. A typical kitchen cupboard has this herb, but it plays a role not limited to being a garnish. Parsley is useful for fighting inflammation, reducing the risk of cancer, eye health, antibiotic, heart-protective effects, and bone health as well.
Parsley leaves have many uses for cooking and garnish and as herbal medicine. They are easy to grow yourself, which makes them accessible for everyday usage. Let us take a deeper look at what makes parsley one of the most beneficial herbs worth growing at home.
What Is Parsley
Petroselinum crispum, parsley, or garden parsley comes from the family of Apiaceae. It is an annual herb with ribbed seeds, erect stems, green leaves, and tiny flowers. You can cultivate it both as an herb and a vegetable, and it is native to the Mediterranean region and Europe.
People consume parsley both as fresh and dried, and it’s well-known among European and Middle Eastern cuisine. However, it is well-beloved worldwide in different dishes because of its zesty flavor. Parsley is also a common garnish because of its bright green color that adds life to a simple-looking meal.
Types of parsley
There are two common types of parsley namely flat leaf and curly leaf parsley. You will also find Hamburg and Japanese variety. Whichever type or variety of parsley that you cultivate, they will all provide uses not just to the palate, but also to the health.
When one thinks of parsley, chances are they are imagining the flat-leaf type. After all, the flat-leaf parsley is the most common form. Flat-leaf parsley is sometimes interchanged with Italian parsley and it includes the Titan and Giant varieties.
Flat-leaf parsley is usually seen as a garnish. It’s reminiscent of cilantro, but it adds a peppery and slightly bitter taste to the dish.
Curly leaf parsley
Unlike the flat-leaf cilantro-like parsley, curly leaf parsley has ruffled leaves. It comes in Forest Green and Extra Curled Dwarf variants. When it comes to taste, this bright green parsley has a milder flavor than the flat ones.
Hamburg parsley originated from Germany and it’s sometimes called Parsley Root because of its thick roots. It also has very large leaves that people use them ornamentally. Compared to other variants, the roots of Hamburg parsley is what’s used for flavoring dishes.
Another common parsley variety is the Japanese parsley. But not to be confused with the name as this parsley is also native to China. You can distinguish it from other varieties because it has thick stems.
Parsley Leaves Benefits
The many health benefits of parsley are from the herb’s abundance of antioxidants and vitamins and minerals. It is one of the plants that offer different nutrients and compounds that can protect the body from illnesses, and also relieve some conditions. These components of parsley are also what’s responsible for the herb’s different medicinal benefits and use.
Parsley is rich in antioxidants such as flavonoids and phenolic compounds. Our body will benefit from eating foods that are a source of antioxidants because of their effects against free radicals. Free radicals cause damage to the cells, which also puts us at risk of developing illnesses including cancer.
Since antioxidants neutralize free radicals, we are also protected against oxidative stress. Why is this important? Oxidative stress leads to conditions throughout the body ranging from stress, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and problems in the immune system.
Flavonols like kaempferol, quercetin, and glycosylated flavones like apigenin and luteolin, myricetin, and apigenin are some of the flavonoids that you’ll find in parsley. The herb is also a source of carotenoids like beta-carotene and lutein, and even vitamin C. These antioxidants offer various benefits from reducing the risk of lung cancer, chronic diseases, and also supporting the body’s immune response.
To put it simply, flavonoids offer benefits in the overall function of the body, while also protecting it against stressors and toxins. On the other hand, carotenoids help in normal growth and development, eye health, and reducing the risk of cancer. Lastly, vitamin C is important for repair and maintenance throughout the body from the skin to the immune system.
Vitamins and minerals
Besides vitamin C, parsley also has a high level of different vitamins including vitamins K, A, E, and B-vitamins such as amino acid and folic acid. It is also a good source of minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron. But how does our body benefit from these nutrients?
For starters, vitamin K plays a role in different body processes including the regulation of blood calcium levels. It is also important for blood clotting and bone metabolism to promote wound healing and bone health. Parsley’s vitamin A is attributed to it being rich in beta-carotene to ensure a strong immune system and protection against cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and atherosclerosis.
Besides vitamins C and A, another vitamin that works as an antioxidant is vitamin E. Parsley is also a source of this vitamin and it helps protect the cells against oxidative stress. And lastly, the B-vitamins in parsley are influential to the body’s cardiovascular health and cancer prevention.
Green leafy vegetables including parsley are also an excellent source of minerals and electrolytes. They include potassium, magnesium, and calcium for regulating nerve and muscle functions. Parsley also has iron which plays a role in the immune system, metabolism, and oxygenation of the blood.
Uses Of Parsley
Parsley’s health benefits open the door for many medicinal uses. They include fighting inflammation, reducing the risk of cancer, eye health, antibiotic, heart-protective effects, and bone health.
For fighting inflammation
Parsley’s anti-inflammatory effects are due to the vitamins or antioxidants that are found in the herb. In particular, vitamins A, C, and E can reduce inflammation. The reasons behind this effect are because of their antioxidant actions, while beta-carotene, the precursor for vitamin A, inhibits the gene expression of inflammation.
Speaking of carotenoids, their action in inhibiting chronic inflammation leads to protection against heart diseases. With proper response to inflammation, you can further manage other body processes including blood pressure and urinary pH as well. The main takeaway here is that managing inflammation means reduced risk of other diseases.
Lastly, parsley’s anti-inflammatory effects help reduce the risk of arthritis and even cancer due to cellular damage. Antioxidants like apigenin and flavonoids regulate the body’s immune function. In turn, you can avoid diseases such as atherosclerosis, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.
For reducing the risk of cancer
Parsley owes its cancer-fighting properties to its abundance of antioxidants such as vitamin C, carotenoids, myricetin, and apigenin. These compounds can reduce the risk of prostate cancer, skin cancer, and breast cancer. In fact, the consumption of foods like parsley can protect the body against cancer-causing heterocyclic amines from eating burned meat.
For eye health
The carotenoids you’ll find in parsley such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin promotes eye health. For instance, they can prevent eye disease called macular degeneration. It can happen as you age and it can cause blindness.
Since beta-carotene itself is a precursor of vitamin A, you can assume that you’ll also be getting the same eye health benefits from this vitamin. Vitamin A protects and maintains your cornea and it even helps the eye see better in low light conditions. Overall, carotenoids can help delay and prevent eye problems.
Parsley has demonstrated antibacterial and antifungal effects in studies. In fact, it can help protect against yeast and molds because of its reaction against S. aureus. Parsley can also prevent food poisoning by preventing the growth of bacteria and working against the causes, Listeria and Salmonella.
Heart protective effects
Heart-loving and heart-protecting such as folic acid and fiber are found in parsley. Studies have shown how this B-vitamin can lower the risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. The fiber in parsley, on the other hand, is protective of the heart because it lowers the body’s bad cholesterol.
For bone health
Another health benefit that your body will love with parsley is its support of bone health. For example, this herb is rich in vitamin K and calcium that are essential for strong and healthy bones. They support the bone-building cells and in the long run, can ward off osteoporosis.
How To Use Parsley Leaves
Parsley leaves are one of the most versatile herbs to use. It can be added to the dish to enhance the flavors, but the leaves also make an excellent garnish for a pop of color on the plate. However, parsley leaves also work as a medicinal herb that can relieve internal illnesses.
For cooking and garnish
Parsley leaves serve as a condiment in different cuisines worldwide. In countries like Lebanon, parsley is a significant ingredient in the tabbouleh, which is Lebanon’s national dish. Therefore, parsley is not just a condiment, but it’s also the main ingredient in different dishes.
For example, the French have a so-called bouquet garni where parsley is among the herbs that are tied together. This bouquet is then added to soups, sauces, stews, and braises to infuse them with herbal flavor. The South American vibrant green sauce, chimichurri also makes use of fresh parsley as the main ingredient.
Parsley leaves go well with grilled vegetables, steaks, couscous, salmon, and beans to name a few. It’s best to not chop them finely to retain more flavor. And at the same time, big pieces of parsley leaves look good on the plate.
Fresh parsley is often used as a garnish because it adds a fresh taste and vibrant green color to the dish. They are added before serving so the heat doesn’t diminish the taste. On the other hand, dried parsley is what you’ll use during cooking because of its stronger flavor.
As an all-natural medicine and remedy, the whole parsley plant has a number of uses. Starting at the roots, they are diuretic which makes them excellent for detox and maintaining kidney health. As for the seeds, they offer relief for colic pain and flatulence.
The leaves themselves help to treat skin irritations from insect bites and parasites. Women can also benefit from parsley oil as it can regulate menstrual flow and treat amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea. There are reports where parsley is used to treat internal illnesses including gallstones and diseases of the prostate, liver, and spleen as well.
Can You Grow Parsley At Home
You can grow parsley at home and gain all the benefits both in culinary and health. Refer to Krostrade.com to know more about greenhouses and how you can cultivate parsley effectively and effortlessly. Because you can control the conditions inside the greenhouse, you can maximize parsley’s advantages as a biennial.
Biennial crops like parsley mean that it will bloom and set seeds after winter. Parsley will give you the opportunity to harvest its leaves during the planting season in the first year, then you’ll get seeds in the second year. This two-year lifespan makes it easy for you to cultivate parsley for personal benefits or as a crop for the market.
In the greenhouse, you have the option to plant parsley in raised beds, hanging pots, or containers. The seeds require up to 8 inches of space among them in a manure-rich and moist soil. But because parsley seeds take a long time to sprout, do soak them in warm water overnight before planting.
Maintain a temperature between 65°F and 85°F in the greenhouse. Ensure a moist soil without overwatering, and feed the plants every two weeks. You can then transplant fresh parsley when they are 3 inches high, and harvest after 90 days seeing the stems having clusters of leaves.
Take advantage of parsley leaves benefits such as antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals that maintain the body systems and protect against pathogens and diseases. This herb has diverse medicinal and health uses ranging from fighting inflammation, reducing the risk of cancer, eye health, antibiotic, heart-protective effects, and bone health. At the same time, your tastebuds will thank you for the fresh flavor that parsley leaves add to your dish.
A garnish, main ingredient, herbal medicine, and all-natural remedy, people are considering growing parsley in their own home. The good news is that this biennial crop is easy to cultivate, especially in a greenhouse. Maintaining maximum growth and maintenance conditions will give you quality and effective harvest for your health or business.