7 Surprising Parsley Health Benefits (And How to Eat More of It)

Parsley is a pretty little Mediterranean herb that lends a sprinkling of color to your plate. But let’s not think of it as just a garnish—after all, parsley has been around for more than 2000 years, and boasts some time-tested benefits that you should know about.

7 Health Benefits of Parsley and Delicious Recipes

A surprisingly small amount of parsley is packed with vitamins. Just two tablespoons provides two percent of your daily calcium, iron and folate; 12 percent of your vitamin A; over 150 percent of your vitamin K; and 16 percent of your vitamin C. Not too shabby for a humble herb! Check out these parsley health benefits and ways to get more parsley into your day-to-day.

Nutrition Booster

The vitamin K in parsley aids in bone health, while the wealth of vitamin C makes it a great immune booster. Parsley is an excellent source of beta carotene, an antioxidant that can help protect the body against free-radical damage and fight the effects of aging.

Kidney Stone Preventer

There is some evidence that parsley can support healthy kidney function. While the herb contains oxalates, which can cause problems for those with existing kidney problems, a study published in Urology Journal found that ingesting parsley leaf and roots reduced the number of calcium oxalate deposits in animals. The researchers found that ingesting parsley helped break down kidney stones in animals.

Joint Pain Alleviator

Use parsley daily, and you’ll feel relief from joint pain. That’s because the herb has anti-inflammatory properties.

Fatigue Fighter

Because it’s high in iron, parsley is recommended for patients with anemia. Two tablespoons of parsley provides two percent of your daily iron, so a sprinkling of parsley gives any food a little iron boost.

Anticancer Powerhouse

Parsley is rich in cancer-fighting compounds. Early studies suggest that compounds in parsley may even inhibit tumor growth! A recent study in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found that parsley has potent anticancer properties. It actually fights cancer in 4 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 and Treatment

Research published in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating foods high in a naturally occurring nutrient known as myricetin can decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 26 percent. Parsley is one of the best sources of myricetin, containing about 8 milligrams per 100 grams of parsley. The study, known as the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (Epic), was conducted in 26 study centers in 8 European countries over several years. A subsequent study of 12,403 people with type 2 diabetes showed a strong link between consumption of flavonol (a natural compound found in parsley) and a significantly reduced incidence of the disease.

Overall Health Booster

Parsley tea relaxes stiff muscles and encourages digestion. It has been used traditionally for an array of other health issues, as well.

 

Healthy Parsley Recipes

If you’re new to cooking with parsley, you might be wondering how to add more to your diet. These are some simple recipes to get you started.

1. Add it to your smoothies. Parsley makes a refreshing addition to your morning smoothie! It might sound like a weird flavor to pair with fruit, but it makes a fruity smoothie surprisingly refreshing.

2. Make chimichurri. Chimichurri is a South American sauce starring plenty of fresh parsley. It’s a little bit like a pesto but with more of a bright flavor. It’s a great sauce for dipping bread or spooning over something hearty, like portobello mushrooms.

Health Benefits of Parsley and Recipes

3. Drizzle it onto your salads. Like in a smoothie, parsley adds a lovely flavor to creamy salad dressings. Try Dianne’s Easy Peasy Lemony Tahini dressing with a healthy dose of parsley.

4. Have a panzanella party. Panzanella is a bread salad, and it’s perfect with plenty of parsley! Try this delicious recipe.

Health Benefits of Parsley and Recipes

5. Add to your grain salads. Ricki’s quinoa and wild rice salad gets some extra zip from plenty of fresh parsley.

6. Toss into pasta salad. Parsley and two kinds of squash are the stars of Nava Atlas’s healthy pasta salad recipe.

Health Benefits of Parsley Plus Recipes

7. Mix up your pesto. Pesto doesn’t have to be all about the basil. Try this vegan parsley pesto with walnuts pasta recipe. And also this eggplant lasagna with parsley pesto. Kathy over at Healthy Slow Cooking has a kale pesto recipe with parsley (pictured above) that she adds to hummus. Yum!

8. Spice up your rice. Vegan Miam’s Arroz Verde recipe uses a whole cup of fresh parsley for a bright, vibrant side dish.

Related:
9 Healing Herbs to Cook With
3 Great Reasons to Love Parsley
6 Superfoods to Boost Your Health

 

Written by Shubhra Krishan, Michelle Schoffro Cook and Becky Striepe. Graphic by Becky Striepe. All recipe images via recipe authors, used with permission. Parsley image via Thinkstock.

428 comments

Clare O'Beara
Clare O1 months ago

tasty

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O1 months ago

th

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Melania P
Melania P1 months ago

I love parsley!

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Aaron F
Past Member 1 months ago

Loads of it in clear broth soups...

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Kelsey S
Kelsey S1 months ago

Thanks

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Ruth S
Ruth S1 months ago

I use dried parsley in Italian dishes, hopefully it still helps!

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Ruth S
Ruth S1 months ago

Thanks.

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Marija M
Marija M1 months ago

tks for sharing.

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Carl R
Carl R1 months ago

Thanks!!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cABVKIPk_u0

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Mia G
Mia G1 months ago

Thank you

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