Parsley has spent too much time banished to the side of the plate as a garnish. There are two types, and choosing the correct one is essential: curly parsley has a far more interesting visual texture, but lacks flavor, making it perfect for use as a garnish. Flat or Italian parsley is the type most often called for in cooking and is central to many dishes from around the world. With a light, peppery flavor, it’s excellent in soups, salads, and smoothies. Often confused with cilantro, parsley is generally a deeper green, it’s lacy leaves are often larger and flatter, and its scent is far more mild.
And as it turns out, it’s one of the most nutritious things to eat. Read on to find out why you should be eating or drinking it daily.
Nutrient dense parsley is a fast grower
Parsley is an excellent source of a number of vitamins and minerals, including A, B, C, K, iron and potassium. Vitamin C, known for its antioxidant qualities, neutralizes free radicals and also supports the immune system. Folic Acid, a type of B vitamin found in parsley, helps prevent the kind of damage to blood vessels that increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Vitamin K is a little-known nutrient that serves several important functions. First, it helps blood clot effectively. In fact, it is so effective at clotting that people on blood thinners are advised to avoid parsley entirely. It improves bone health by increasing the absorption of calcium intake, so enjoy it with other dark leafy greens like kale or spinach. Just ten sprigs is enough to meet your daily adult intake requirements.
There have been numerous studies on the value and efficacy of this powerhouse in both preventing and treating cancer. A flavonoid called apigenin has been found to reduce the risk of many types of cancer, including breast, digestive tract, skin and prostate cancers. Not only that, a 2015 review found that it significantly reduced existing tumor size in aggressive breast cancer. Parsley has one of the highest concentrations of a second flavonoid called myricetin, which has been shown to help prevent skin cancer. Lastly, components of the oils within the leaves can block the cancer-causing qualities in meats grilled at high temperatures. If you like your steak charred, add parsley to your salad or make tabouleh as a side dish.
Powerful anti-inflammation and anti-arthritic properties have been found in eugenol, an essential oil found in parsley. It has been shown to reduce both inflammation and arthritic swelling. It has been shown to significantly suppress swelling in joints. In addition, a study published in 2016 found that flavonoids including luteolin, help block inflammatory proteins. The same myricetin mentioned above also contains anti-inflammatory properties.
Parsley can help you slim down in a number of healthy ways. First, it helps balance blood sugar, supporting long-term weight loss. For those with diabetes, it helps prevent the degenerative effects of the disease on the liver. Parsley is also a natural diuretic, helping the body release excess fluids without depleting potassium levels. Drinking a parsley shake before a big event will help slim the waist and other areas retaining water in a safe and healthy way.
With the vitamin C mentioned above, parsley is a great first line of defence when you feel a cold or flu coming on. In addition, it’s essential oils has been shown to suppress immune system over-stimulation, making it effective in the fight against allergies, autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammatory disorders.
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to stop writing and go make myself a parsley shake. I love the recipe at the end of this article.
Like many herbs, parsley prefers well-drained soil. Mixing sand into your potting soil at around a 2:3 ratio will ensure healthy, aerated roots. The root structures are delicate and temperamental, so it doesn’t transplant well. Seeds are more likely to be successful, but may take up to three weeks to emerge, so be patient and persistent. Soaking them overnight before sowing can help jump start the process. While waiting, keep the soil moist, but not damp or wet.
When green shoots emerge, pinch or cut out any excess sprouts growing too closely together, since pulling them may damage surrounding root structures. Feed with fish emulsion or half-strength liquid fertilizer Like FoxFarm Grow Big every two weeks. When the leaf stems have three segments, usually around three weeks after sprouting, they are ready to be harvested. Cut stems from the outer portions, leaving the lower growth to mature and sprout new leaves.
Parsley loves strong, bright light. If you grow using sunlight, be sure to pick a bright spot in your garden or window, keeping the plants away from glass to avoid burning the leaves. If using grow lights, it will grow abundantly under ten hours of LED or fluorescent light.
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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any health concern. Consult your medical professional regarding all health concerns and treatment options.
Gina Kegel is a freelance copywriter in Southern California. Like a heat-seeking missile for human interest angles, underlying driving factors and the hidden gem that connects, Gina engages readers across a wide variety of businesses and industries, from startups through multinational corporations. Find her at LinkedIn.com/in/ginaiswrite.