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The Nutrition of Parsley

Aug 12, 2010

Parsley is a widely used herb across the world. It is used to season and garnish various dishes. The plant also has a high healing capacity. It is a dark green colored herb with curly leaves and a bitter taste. Another variety known as Italian parsley has flat leaves and isn't as bitter as the curly type. The herb is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid and iron. It also contains various phytonutrients that promote good health. The nutritional content of parsley assures several benefits to your health.

Vitamin A

The herb is rich in carotenoid and beta-carotene which have antioxidant roles. The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A which helps to develop a strong immune system. Beta-carotene helps to neutralize free radicals in the fat-soluble parts of the body. It has been shown that a high intake of beta-carotene reduces the risk of diabetes, colon cancer and plaque in the arteries. This antioxidant also helps to reduce severity of symptoms in cases of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

Vitamin C

The plant contains one of the highest amounts of vitamin C amongst herbs. It contains three times the amount of vitamin C found in oranges. Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant with various functions in the body. It neutralizes free radicals that occur in all water-soluble areas of the body. This helps to prevent development of various diseases. Vitamin C reduces pain and inflammation especially in cases of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It also helps to prevent frequent ear infections and colds.

Folic Acid

It is one of the nutrients in the B-complex range. It helps to reduce toxins in the blood that are harmful to blood vessels. This reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack. Foods rich in folic acid can help prevent diabetic heart disease. The nutrient also supports healthy cell division. This is a vital deterrent to cancer. This reduces the risk of colon and cervical cancers.

Iron

Parsley contains double the amount of iron found in spinach. Iron is a vital nutrient for the formation of red and white blood cells. Red cells distribute oxygen throughout the body. Inadequate iron intake can result in fatigue and dizziness. White cells help the body to fight infections and diseases.

Phytochemicals

The herb has been widely established as a useful agent in the fight against cancer. This is due to the various potent phytochemicals available in the plant. Some phytochemicals hinder the growth of tumors in cancer patients while others help to prevent blood clots. This helps to prevent arterial blockage and reduces the risk of stroke. Parsley is a rich source of flavonoids which have powerful antioxidant properties. They help to neutralize free radicals, which hinder the development of certain cancers. They also protect cells from oxygen-based damage. Certain phytochemicals in the herb help to reduce cholesterol which lowers the risk of coronary diseases. The herb also contains volatile oils that have antioxidant properties. These oils have been shown to hinder development of tumors in the lungs. The oils also help to neutralize carcinogens associated with lung cancer.

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