8 Impressive Health Benefits and Uses of Parsley
By Maria Zamarripa
Parsley is a flowering plant native to the Mediterranean. The two most common types are French curly-leaf and Italian flat-leaf.
Over the years, parsley has been used to treat conditions like high blood pressure, allergies and inflammatory diseases (1).
Today, it's widely used as a fresh culinary herb or dried spice. It's bright green in color and has a mild, bitter flavor that pairs well with many recipes.
Often labeled as one of the most powerful disease-fighting plants, parsley provides great nutritional value and offers many potential health benefits (2).
Here are 8 impressive health benefits and uses of parsley.
1. Contains Many Important Nutrients
Parsley offers many more nutrients than people suspect.
A 1/2 cup (30 grams) of fresh, chopped parsley provides (3):
- Calories: 11 calories
- Carbs: 2 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: less than 1 gram
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Vitamin A: 108% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin C: 53% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 547% of the RDI
- Folate: 11% of the RDI
- Potassium: 4% of the RDI
Parsley is also a great source of vitamins A and C — important nutrients with antioxidant properties (5).
Additionally, it's very low in calories yet packed with flavor, making it a great low-calorie ingredient for many recipes.
Parsley is a low-calorie, nutrient-dense herb. It's particularly rich in vitamins K, A, and C.
2. Rich in Antioxidants
Parsley contains many powerful antioxidants that can benefit your health.
Antioxidants are compounds that prevent cellular damage from molecules called free radicals. Your body requires a healthy balance of antioxidants and free radicals to maintain optimal health (6).
- vitamin C
The fragrant herb is particularly rich in a class of antioxidants known as flavonoids. The two main flavonoids include myricetin and apigenin.
Furthermore, beta carotene and lutein are two antioxidants known as carotenoids. Many studies associate higher intake of carotenoids with a reduced risk of certain diseases, including lung cancer (13).
Interestingly, dried parsley may be higher in antioxidants than fresh sprigs. In fact, one study found that the dried herb had 17 times more antioxidant content than its fresh counterpart (7).
Parsley contains many powerful antioxidants, which may help prevent cell damage and lower your risk of certain diseases.
3. Supports Bone Health
Your bones need certain vitamins and minerals in varying amounts to remain healthy and strong.
Vitamin K helps build stronger bones by supporting bone-building cells called osteoblasts. This vitamin also activates certain proteins that increase bone mineral density — a measure of the amount of minerals present in your bones (15).
Bone density is important, as a lower bone mineral density is associated with an increased risk of fractures — especially in older adults (16).
Typical dietary intakes of vitamin K may be below the levels needed to improve bone mineral density and reduce fracture risk. Therefore, eating foods like parsley may benefit bone health (19).
Parsley is rich in vitamin K, which is an essential nutrient for optimal bone health. Eating foods high in this nutrient has been linked to a reduced risk of fractures and improved bone mineral density.
4. Contains Cancer-Fighting Substances
Parsley contains plant compounds that may have anticancer effects.
Parsley is particularly rich in flavonoid antioxidants and vitamin C, which reduce oxidative stress in your body and may lower your risk of certain cancers.
For example, high dietary intake of flavonoids may reduce colon cancer risk by up to a 30% (21).
Plus, eating foods rich in vitamin C may reduce your risk of cancer as well. A 1/2 cup (30 grams) of parsley provides 53% of the RDI for this nutrient.
One study found that increasing vitamin C by 100 mg per day reduced the risk of overall cancer by 7%. Moreover, increasing dietary vitamin C by 150 mg per day may lower prostate cancer risk by up to 21% (24, 25)
Parsley contains various antioxidants — like flavonoids and vitamin C — that may provide cancer-fighting benefits.
5. Rich in Nutrients That Protect Your Eyes
Lutein, beta carotene and zeaxanthin are three carotenoids in parsley that help protect your eyes and promote healthy vision. Carotenoids are pigments found in plants that have powerful antioxidant activity (26, 27).
Lutein and zeaxanthin may prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD), an incurable eye disease and a leading cause of blindness around the world.
beta carotene is another carotenoid that supports eye health. This carotenoid can be converted into vitamin A in your body (31).
This conversion of beta carotene explains why parsley is very rich in vitamin A. A 1/2 cup (30 grams) of freshly chopped leaves provides 108% of the RDI for this vitamin (3).
Vitamin A is essential for eye health, as it helps protect the cornea — the outermost layer of your eye — as well as the conjunctiva — the thin membrane covering the front of your eye and the inside of your eyelids (32).
Parsley contains lutein, zeaxanthin and beta carotene, plant compounds that protect eye health and may reduce your risk of certain age-related eye conditions like AMD.
6. May Improve Heart Health
High intakes of dietary folate may reduce heart disease risk in certain populations. A large study in over 58,000 people found that the highest intake of folate was associated with a 38% reduced risk of heart disease (33).
Conversely, low intake of folate may increase your risk of heart disease. One study in 1,980 men observed a 55% increase in heart disease risk in those with the lowest intake of this nutrient (34).
Some experts hypothesize that folate benefits heart health by lowering levels of the amino acid homocysteine. High homocysteine levels have been linked to a higher risk of heart disease in some studies.
Homocysteine may negatively affect heart health by altering the structure and function of your arteries. However, the connection between this amino acid and heart disease still remains controversial (35, 36).
Parsley is rich in folate, a B vitamin that protects your heart and may reduce your risk of heart disease.
7. Parsley Extract Has Antibacterial Properties
Parsley may have antibacterial benefits when used as an extract.
The extract may also prevent the growth of bacteria in food. Another test-tube study found it prevented the growth of potentially harmful bacteria, such as Listeria and Salmonella — both known to cause food poisoning (39, 40, 41).
Though the extract shows antibacterial potential in test-tube studies, these benefits have not yet been studied in humans.
Parsley extract has been shown to have antibacterial properties in test-tube studies. Still, more research is needed.
8. Easy to Add to Your Diet
Parsley is an extremely versatile and inexpensive flavoring option.
You can use the dried version as an ingredient in various recipes. It can enhance the flavor of soups, stews and tomato sauces. Additionally, it's often combined with other herbs in Italian-inspired recipes.
Fresh parsley is also a great addition to homemade salad dressings, marinades, and seafood recipes. Many people use fresh sprigs in recipes that don't require cooking or add the herb at the end of the cooking period.
Here are a few more ways to add parsley to your diet:
- Stir fresh leaves into a homemade chimichurri sauce.
- Mix finely chopped leaves into your salad dressings.
- Sprinkle fresh or dried leaves on top of a salmon dish.
- Finely chop the stems and add to a potato salad for an extra crunch.
- Simmer dried flakes in a homemade tomato sauce.
Interestingly, the herb may act as a natural breath freshener, so you can also chew on a sprig while cooking to freshen up your breath (42).
To extend the life of fresh parsley, wrap the bunch in a damp paper towel and store it in a closed container in the refrigerator.
Parsley can be used as a dried spice or fresh herb. Dried flakes are usually added to hot dishes like soup and pasta, while the fresh herb is a great addition to salads and dressings.
The Bottom Line
Parsley is a versatile herb that provides a concentrated source of nutrients. It's particularly rich in vitamins A, C and K.
The vitamins and beneficial plant compounds in parsley may improve bone health, protect against chronic diseases and provide antioxidant benefits.
You can incorporate dried or fresh leaves easily into your diet by adding them to soups, salads, marinades and sauces.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
- 20 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Food Waste - EcoWatch ›
- The 19 Best Foods to Improve Digestion - EcoWatch ›
- The 18 Best Healthy Foods to Buy in Bulk (And the Worst) - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A herdsman in the Chinese autonomous region of Inner Mongolia was diagnosed with the bubonic plague Sunday, The New York Times reported.
- Plagues Follow Bad Leadership in Ancient Greek Tales - EcoWatch ›
- Black Death Is Back! Two Cases of Plague Confirmed in China ... ›
By Matt Kasson, Brian Lovett and Carolee Bull
Home gardening is having a boom year across the U.S. Whether they're growing their own food in response to pandemic shortages or just looking for a diversion, numerous aspiring gardeners have constructed their first raised beds, and seeds are flying off suppliers' shelves. Now that gardens are largely planted, much of the work for the next several months revolves around keeping them healthy.
Start With Prevention<p>Just as preventive steps like maintaining a balanced diet help keep humans healthy, home growers can take many actions to help their gardens thrive.</p><p>One key step is assessing soil fertility – the ability of soil to sustain plant growth – which can vary widely depending on your location and soil type. Low soil fertility limits food production and predisposes plants to disease and pests. University extension <a href="https://soiltesting.wvu.edu/" target="_blank">soil testing labs</a> can help evaluate the quality of garden soil and identify nutrient deficiencies and acidic soils, often at no charge.</p>
Using weed barrier landscape cloth for planting rows and mulching between rows is an effective way to suppress weeds. Matt Kasson, CC BY-ND
Diagnosing Problems<p>Common plant pathogens include <a href="https://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/disandpath/viral/introduction/Pages/PlantViruses.aspx" target="_blank">viruses</a>, <a href="https://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/disandpath/prokaryote/intro/Pages/Bacteria.aspx" target="_blank">bacteria</a>, <a href="https://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/disandpath/nematode/intro/Pages/IntroNematodes.aspx" target="_blank">nematodes</a>, <a href="https://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/disandpath/oomycete/introduction/Pages/IntroOomycetes.aspx#:%7E:text=The%20oomycetes%2C%20also%20known%20as,foliar%20blights%20and%20downy%20mildews." target="_blank">oomycetes</a> and <a href="https://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/disandpath/fungalasco/intro/Pages/IntroFungi.aspx" target="_blank">fungi</a>. All of these microorganisms, especially at an early stage of infection, are too small to see. But when they proliferate, they cause changes in plants that we can recognize.</p><p>Unlike insects, which move around on six legs or on wings through the air, pathogens can move unseen and unchecked from leaf to leaf on the wind, through the soil or in droplets of water. Some microbes have even formed intimate relationships with insects and use them as vehicles to move from plant to plant, which makes these pathogens even more challenging to manage. Unfortunately, by the time some pathogens make their presence known, the damage is already done.</p><p>We recently conducted a <a href="https://twitter.com/kasson_wvu/status/1265989041725624323" target="_blank">Twitter poll</a> of gardeners nationwide to find out which culprits plagued their gardens. People named <a href="https://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/aphids" target="_blank">aphids</a>, <a href="https://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/squash-vine-borer" target="_blank">squash vine borers</a>, <a href="https://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/squash-bug" target="_blank">squash bugs</a> and <a href="https://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/flea-beetle" target="_blank">flea beetles</a> as the most problematic insect pests. Their most troublesome pathogens included <a href="https://extension.wvu.edu/lawn-gardening-pests/plant-disease/fruit-vegetable-diseases/powdery-mildew" target="_blank">powdery mildew</a>, <a href="https://plantpath.ifas.ufl.edu/rsol/Trainingmodules/BWTomato_Module.html" target="_blank">tomato bacterial wilt</a> and <a href="https://extension.wvu.edu/lawn-gardening-pests/plant-disease/fruit-vegetable-diseases/downy-mildew" target="_blank">cucurbit downy mildew</a>.</p><p>To manage such perennial challenges, the first step is to spend time closely looking at your plants. Do you notice any insects consistently hanging around, or molds colonizing leaves or other plant parts? How about symptoms such as blight, stunting, or leaves that are yellowing, browning or wilting?</p>
This white fungal growth is an early sign of powdery mildew on a leaf of susceptible summer squash. Matt Kasson, CC BY-ND
- 5 Ways to Make Your Garden Regenerative - EcoWatch ›
- How to Make your House and Garden More Tranquil - EcoWatch ›
- Gardening in Hard Times Has Deep History - EcoWatch ›
By Emma Charlton
The effects of climate change may more far-reaching than you think.
Hotter temperatures have been linked to a rise in energy poverty, with more people struggling to meet their energy bills from their household income, according to a new study published on ScienceDirect by researchers from Italy's Ca' Foscari University.
Value of air conditioning imports in selected OECD countries. ScienceDirect
The ‘Golden Thread’<p>The <a href="https://www.endenergypoverty.org/reports" target="_blank">Global Commission to End Energy Poverty</a> calls access to energy the "golden thread" that weaves together economic growth, human development, and environmental sustainability. And one of the <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/archive/sdg-07-affordable-and-clean-energy" target="_blank">United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals</a> is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.</p><p>Sustainability also has a large role to play in the future of energy and failing to embed green policies in COVID-19 stimulus packages and underinvesting in green infrastructure are current risks, according to the <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_COVID_19_Risks_Outlook_Special_Edition_Pages.pdf" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</p><p>In its vision for a 'Great Reset' – building a better world after the pandemic – the Forum and the IMF jointly backed the <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/end-fossil-fuel-subsidies-economy-imf-georgieva-great-reset-climate/" target="_blank">transition to a green economy</a> and called for an end to fossil fuel subsidies.</p>
As if the surging cases of coronavirus weren't enough for Floridians to handle, now the state's Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed that a person in the Tampa area tested positive for a rare brain-eating amoeba, according to CBS News. The Florida DOH posted a warning to residents to remind them of the dangers of the rare single-celled amoeba that attacks brain tissue.
Scientists are urging the WHO to revisit their coronavirus guidance to focus more on airborne transmission and less on hand sanitizer and hygiene. John Lund / Photodisc / Getty Images
The World Health Organization (WHO) is holding the line on its stance that the respiratory droplets of the coronavirus fall quickly to the floor and are not infectious. Now, a group of 239 scientists is challenging that assertion, arguing that the virus is lingering in the air of indoor environments, infecting people nearby, as The New York Times reported.
- Summer Heat Won't Kill the Coronavirus, New Study Says - EcoWatch ›
- Here's Why COVID-19 Can Spread So Easily at Gyms and Fitness ... ›
- Is the New Coronavirus Airborne? A Study From China Finds Evidence ›
Along the northern shores of the Gulf of Mexico, oysters live in coastal estuaries where saltwater and freshwater meet and mix.
- Hurricanes, Water Wars Threaten New High-End Oyster Industry on ... ›
- 'Dead Zone' Predicted for Gulf of Mexico ›
- The Gulf Oyster Situation Is Very Bad, But There's Hope - EcoWatch ›
Scores of people remained stranded in southern Japan on Sunday after heavy rain the day before caused deep flooding and mudslides that left at least 34 people confirmed or presumed dead.
Care Home Inundated<p>Altogether 16 residents at an elderly care home in Kuma Village are presumed dead after the facility was flooded by water and mud.</p><p>Fifty-one other residents have been rescued by boats and taken to hospitals for treatment, officials said.</p><p>Eighteen other people elsewhere have been confirmed dead, while more than a dozen others were still missing as of Sunday afternoon.</p><p>The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said many others were still waiting to be rescued from other inundated areas.</p><p>Hitoyoshi City was also badly affected by flooding, as rains in the prefecture exceeded 100 millimeters (4 inches) per hour at their height.</p>
More Rain Forecast<p>The disaster in the Kumamoto prefecture on Kyushu island is the worst natural catastrophe since Typhoon Hagibis in October last year, which cost the lives of 90 people.</p><p>Although residents in Kumamoto prefecture were advised to evacuate their homes following the downpours on Friday evening into Saturday, many people chose not to leave for fear of contracting the coronavirus.</p><p>Officials say, however, that measures are in place at shelters to prevent the transmission of the disease.</p><p>More rain is predicted in the region, and the Japan Meteorological Agency has warned of the danger of further mudslides.</p>
- 900,000 Forced to Evacuate Due to Flooding in Japan - EcoWatch ›
- Typhoon Slams Into Flood-Ravaged Japan - EcoWatch ›
- Historic Floods in Japan Kill More Than 100, Force Millions to Flee ... ›