Properties and Benefits of Parsley: Highly nutritious and full of flavour, parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a favourite in numerous Asian and European cuisines. Although nowadays it is widely cultivated throughout the world, it is actually of Mediterranean origin. Parsely is widely used in numerous cuisines in a great variety of dishes and highly appreciated for both its savour and its curative properties derived from its incredible vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A and iron content.
Consequently, it is considered to be not only a savory herb, but also a potent medicinal plant. Parsely has no cholesterol and, in addition to this, it is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin C and lutein are among the most potent antioxidant-vitamins, highly efficient in preventing and reducing the damaging effects of the infamous free radicals. Vitamin A is also the precursory of perfect vision and beautiful skin, vitamin C is a powerful anti-inflammatory, while lutein is said to prevent age-related macular degeneration.
Parsley is a great source of vitamin K as well. Vitamin K is considered to play an essential role in bone health and parsley may actually be the richest source of vitamin K found in nature. Moreover, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6 can be found in more than generous amounts in the leaves of the parsley plant, provided they reach maturity and gain an intense, dark-green colour.
As far as minerals are concerned, parsley is definitely a good source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese and iron. Potassium, for example, helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure and is highly efficient in neutralizing the harmful effects of sodium. Manganese is a co-factor for the manganese superoxide dismutase enzyme, an enzyme with potent antioxidant effects that is said to offer strong UV protection. Iron is essential for the production of red blood cells.
Parsley is also a great source of dietary fiber, which is simply indigestible plant material. Dietary fiber helps reduce cholesterol levels, prevents constipation and protects against free radicals, thus promoting colon health (fiber reduces the time our colon is exposed to waste by regulating bowel movements and balances our intestinal pH, thus reducing the risk of colorectal cancers).
In addition to this, the herb contains volatile essential oils such as myristicim, limonene and eugenol. The latter, eugenol, has been used in dentistry as a local anesthetic and antiseptic. Parsely is so rich in antioxidants that it has been declared one of the few plants with the highest antioxidant effects in the natural world.
The herb is also very versatile in the kitchen. It is used as garnish to potato dishes, rice, fish, steaks and stews or as an ingredient in soups and stocks. It is also a main ingredient salads and sandwiches and a topping for various soups and salads. All in all, it would be a wonderful idea to add some freshly chopped parsley to any dish you feel needs a bit of crunch and flavour.
Not only will it taste better, but it will also make it healthier. If you would like to grow your own parsley, you will be interested to find out that it is as easy as pie. Just find a patch of garden space, plant the seeds, water it until it gets big and beautiful and then you can start harvesting it. However, it would be best to plant it in a slightly shaded piece of garden.
Depending on the variety, it will turn a more or less intense green colour. You can examine the images above in order to see how different varieties may turn out. All things considered, parsley is a savoury and extremely nutritious herb, as well as a wonderful medicinal plant, highly recommended for consumption. But remember, as always, it is best to consume it with moderation because excesses can often prove harmful.