Parsley is one of the world’s healthiest foods with megadoses of essential nutrients like vitamin K and C – and it also happens to be one of the most common and abundantly grown herbs around us. You can even grow your own in a pot on your kitchen bench – here are 3 reasons why you’ll want to.
Boosts bone health
Vitamin K is one of the most important nutrients for bone health – and it often gets left out of the conversation in favour of calcium and vitamin D. But it’s just as significant as the latter two nutrients in maintaining strong, healthy bones. This is because it promotes the development and growth of bone-building cells known as osteoblasts, along with releasing a protein known as osteocalcin which promotes greater amounts of calcium in the bones and teeth and increases bone mineral density – this is essential for warding off brittle bones and osteoporosis. So, yes, it’s important to remember to get your daily dose of calcium, but don’t forget that vitamin K! Here’s where parsley comes in – this wonder herb packs well over 5 times the recommended daily intake in just a measly 30-gram serve. Impressive, we know. It puts popular vitamin K-rich foods like leafy greens and eggs to shame. Eating foods rich in vitamin K – like parsley – has been found to lower your risk for fractures by over 20%. What’s more, our current intake of vitamin K is believed to be subpar for optimal bone density – so add some sprigs of parsley to your next veggie soup!
May reduce your risk for cancer
Parsley is loaded with powerful compounds that may fight cancer cells, including a host of impressive antioxidants known as flavonoids. These reduce the amount of inflammation and free radicals in the body, the latter of which are associated with the development of diseases – including cancer – when left unchecked. High levels of these free radicals can result in oxidative stress, and this is the culprit for chronic disease – but regular intake of flavonoids like those in parsley have been found to reduce the risk for cancers significantly. For one, it’s believed to reduce the risk for colon cancer by a whopping 30%. The vitamin C content in parsley is another thing that’s certainly worth writing home about – that same 30-gram serving packs over 50% of the daily required intake, and studies have found this vitamin reduces our risk for cancer by 7%.
Protects your eyes
Parsley is rich in nutrients known to protect our eyes and promote optimal health for your peepers. Carotenoids are powerful eye health boosters, and parsley happens to be rich in 3 of them:
- Beta carotene
Lutein specifically is believed to reduce the risk for age-related macular degeneration – one of the biggest causes of blindness. Eating foods rich in carotenoids like lutein could reduce your chances of developing this condition by over 25%! Beta carotene is also important as it is converted into vitamin A in the body – another essential vitamin for good vision, ever remember your parents telling you to eat your carrots as a child? It’s all because of that beta carotene! Parsley happens to pack in 108% of your needs for this nutrient, making it a great choice for those of you looking to boost your eye health. Vitamin A not only protects your general eye health, it specifically protects the cornea and conjunctiva – these are the outer layer of the eye and the membrane over your eye, respectively – and thereby prevents damage and the development of disease.
Extra tip: Got bad breath? Chew on a sprig of parsley for a quick breath-freshener.
Enjoy parsley with salads, soups, sauces, salsas, curries or even add it to your favourite pesto recipe for an extra kick of flavour. It’s the perfect herb to freshen up dishes as we move into the hotter months – try it with crunchy veggies and walnuts in a refreshing salad for an impressive starter dish. Take a look HERE for some more fun ideas for what to do with any extra herbs you’re looking to move through before they go off.
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