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The Unsung Superfood: 4 Reasons to Love Parsley

Health + Wellness

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

While most people probably think of parsley as nothing more than a garnish served alongside their restaurant meals, this herb warrants greater inclusion in our diet and natural medicine cabinet. Not only is parsley packed with nutrients, it helps prevent diabetes, prevent and treat kidney stones and is a proven all-natural anti-cancer remedy. It's definitely time to rethink this humble and overlooked herb.

Not only is parsley packed with nutrients, it helps prevent diabetes, prevent and treat kidney stones and is a proven all-natural anti-cancer remedy.

Native to southern Europe, parsley has been in use for more than 2,000 years and is used all around the world. According to the Roman statesman Pliny, "not a salad or sauce should be presented without it."

While we tend to think of parsley primarily as food, our ancestors thought of it primarily as medicine. It was in this capacity that they used parsley to treat many conditions including: gallstones, arthritis, insect bites—even as an aphrodisiac and to curb drunkenness. When it came to alcohol consumption, ancient people believed that parsley could absorb the intoxicating fumes of wine so it could not cause drunkenness.

Here are a few reasons to love parsley along with some ways to incorporate more parsley into your diet:

Nutrition Boost: Parsley is high in many nutrients, including: vitamins A and C, as well as the minerals iron and sulfur, making the dietary addition of this versatile herb a simple and delicious way to boost the nutrition content of almost any meal or fresh juice.

Anti-Cancer Powerhouse: A new study in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found that parsley has potent anti-cancer properties and works against cancer in four different ways: it acts as an antioxidant that destroys free radicals before they damage cells, protects DNA from damage that can lead to cancer or other diseases and inhibits the proliferation and migration of cancer cells in the body.

Diabetes Prevention: Exciting new research in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating foods high in a naturally-occurring nutrient known as myricetin can decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 26 percent. Parsley is one of the best sources of myricetin, containing about 8.08 mg of the medicinal nutrient per 100 grams of parsley.

Kidney Stones: In a study published in Urology Journal, researchers found that ingesting parsley leaf and roots reduced the number of calcium oxalate deposits (found in kidney stones) in animals. Additionally, the researchers also found that ingesting parsley leaf and roots helped to break down kidney stones in animals suffering from the painful condition.

How to Use Parsley:

Parsley leaves and stems can be chopped and added to soups, stews, salads, pasta dishes, fresh juices and more. Try making the Middle Eastern favorite tabbouleh—a combination of couscous, parsley, chopped tomatoes, onions, lemon juice, olive oil and salt. You can substitute quinoa for a gluten-free, whole grain option. Parsley is also an excellent addition to most tomato sauces and chopped salads.

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