Parsley — it's the pretty green garnish that most people promptly remove from their plate or carefully eat around whenever they go out for a nice meal. But parsley is much more than a culinary decoration. It's a nutritional powerhouse that can deliver amazing health benefits when used in cooking instead of as a garnish.
When incorporated into recipes, parsley is believed to deliver many health benefits. It may fight cancer, ward off signs of aging, prevent kidney stones, reduce inflammation and prevent heart disease, among other great benefits. Here's what this too-often-dismissed little herb can do, and how to use it to reap those benefits.
Parsley contains apigenin, a vital ingredient that's crucial in the fight against breast cancer, says ScienceDaily. When given to rats with a certain type of breast cancer, the compound slowed tumor growth and inhibited the growth of new tumors. Apigenin is found in the highest concentration in parsley, as well as celery. It can also be found in fruits, such as apples and oranges, and some nuts.
Parsley benefits the skin in many ways. First, it contains antioxidants, which means it's great as an anti-aging agent. It also contains vitamin C, a vital component of collagen production. Lack of collagen under the skin is the leading cause of lines and wrinkles.
Prevents Kidney Stones
Parsley affects the pH of urine, a fact that was successfully used to prevent kidney stones in rats. Parsley increases both the pH of urine and urine volume, which helps ward off kidney stones. It also reduces calcium and protein in the urine, the building blocks of kidney stones.
Wards off Heart Disease
Parsley is nutrient-dense and contains folate, says Healthline. Just ½ a cup of the green stuff delivers 11% of the recommended daily intake of folate, a nutrient that has long been associated with a decrease in cardiovascular risk. People who consume more folate are at a lower risk of developing cardiovascular issues than those who eat very little of it.
Parsley may ease the painful symptoms associated with arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. This is due to the antioxidants contained in parsley, including vitamins C, A and E which help to reduce inflammation.
How to Cook With Parsley
Flat leafed parsley, also called Italian parsley, is as easy to cook with as cilantro (and in fact, they look similar). It has a fresh taste, and there are some varietals which have a lemony taste, too, making them a great addition to fish, salads, juices, smoothies, and meats. For best results, use parsley in salads, sauces and marinades. You can also incorporate it into most savory dishes and/or combine parsley with other herbs such as basil or thyme. It would be very difficult to eat too much parsley, so try to incorporate it into your diet whenever you can and relish that fresh, herby taste. It's even available as a supplement.
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