Parsley is a popular culinary and medicinal herb recognized as one of the functional food for its unique antioxidants, and disease preventing properties. This wonderful, fragrant rich biennial herb is native to the Mediterranean region. This leafy herb belongs to the Apiaceae family, in the genus; Petroselinum. Its botanical name is Petroselinum crispum.
The herb is a small plant featuring dark-green leaves that resemble coriander leaves, especially in the flat-leaf variety. However, its leaves are larger by size and milder in flavor than that of leaf-coriander. The herb is widely employed in Mediterranean, East European, and American cuisine.
There exist several cultivars of parsley growing across the Europe. Italian or flat leaf-parsley (Petroselinum crispum neapolitanum) is popular around Mediterranean countries, and has rather more intense flavor than curley leafparsley.
Mitsuba (Cryptotaenia japonica) has flavor and appearance simliar to that of flat-leaf parsley and used as a garnish in Japan and China.
Health benefits of Parsley:
- Parsley is one of less calorific herb. 100 g of fresh leaves carry just 36 calories. Additionally, its leaves carry zero cholesterol and fat, but rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Altogether, the herb helps in controllling blood-cholesterol, and may offer protection from free radical mediated injury and cancers.
- Parsley contains health benefiting essential volatile oils that include myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene.
- The essential oil, Eugenol, present in this herb has been in therapeutic application in dentistry as a local anesthetic and anti-septic agent for teeth and gum diseases. Eugenol has also been found to reduce blood sugar levels among diabetics; however, further detailed studies required to establish its role.
- Parsley is rich in poly-phenolic flavonoid antioxidants, including apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin; and has been rated as one of the plant sources with quality antioxidant activities. Total ORAC value, which measures the anti-oxidant strength of 100 g of fresh, raw parsley, is 1301 µmol TE (Trolex equivalents).
- The herb is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. 100 g fresh herb provides 554 mg or 12% of daily-required levels of potassium. Potassium is the chief component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure by countering pressing effects of sodium. Iron is essential for the production of heme, which is an important oxygen-carrying component inside the red blood cells. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
- Additionally, the herb is also rich in many antioxidant vitamins, including vitamin-A, beta-carotene, vitamin-C,vitamin-E, zea-xanthin, lutein, and cryptoxanthin. The herb is an excellent source of vitamin-K and folates. Zea-xanthin helps prevent age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) in the retina (eye) in the aged population through its anti-oxidant and ultra-violet light filtering functions.
- Fresh herb leaves are also rich in many essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), riboflavin (vitamin B-2), niacin (vitamin B-3), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins play a vital role in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism by acting as co-enzymes inside the human body.
- It is, perhaps, the richest herbal source for vitamin K; provide 1640 µg or 1366% of recommended daily intake. Vitamin K has been found to have the potential role in bone health by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bones. It has also established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients through limiting neuronal damage in their brain
Wonderful! Humble parsley has just 36 calories/100 g, but their phyto-nutrients profile is no less than any high-calorie food sources.
This unique herb provides:
38% of folates,
220% of vitamin C,
281% of vitamin A,
1366% of vitamin K,
14% of calcium,
77.5% of iron and
5561 mcg of zeaxanthin.
5054 mcg of carotene-beta