The health benefits of parsley far outweigh its typical lowly place as a garnish on a plate in American restaurants. While Americans consume a lot of parsley, (third only to salt and pepper as the most consumed spice), it’s doubtful many Westerners know about the health benefits.
However, people in the Middle East are well aware of the health benefits of parsley and eat it daily, by the cup full. In fact, almost every nation in the Middle East and around the Mediterranean has its own version of tabouli using equal parts parsley and bulgur wheat. And some researchers think it could be the spices, like parsley, that makes the Mediterranean diet so healthy.
So what are the health benefits of parsley? For starters, parsley contains enormous amounts of apigenin, an antioxidant enhancer that helps other antioxidants work better.(1)
Health Benefits of Parsley
There are many more benefits to parsley, besides being an antioxidant booster. According to the book Healing Spices, “traditionally parsley has been used as a diuretic, to cleanse the kidneys and bladder, and to reduce high blood pressure.”(2) Historically, parsley has also been used in Morocco to treat heart disease, in Turkey to treat type two diabetes, in Lebanon to treat constipation, and in Saudi Arabia to treat ulcers.(3) Wow, that’s a lot of health benefits of parsley!
And there are many other health benefits of parsley that research studies are just starting to discover. In a study done at Harvard Medical School, Parsley was linked to a decreased risk of ovarian cancer. And other studies have shown it to fight off a wide range of cancers, as well as fighting heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.(4)
Curly parsley is predominantly found in the US and in England, and flat-leafed parsley (Italian Parsley) is used around the rest of the world. Flat-leafed parsley has a richer flavor and possibly more antioxidants as well.
There are so many health benefits of parsley, and it can be added to just about any dish. Try delicious chimichurri sauce recipe from Argentina where parsley is the main ingredient. This recipe comes from the Healing Spices book, which I highly recommend getting. It’s a wealth of knowledge on herbs and spices for culinary and medicinal uses.
- Vitamix, Blender, or Food Processor
- 2 cups fresh flat-leafed (Italian) parsley stems removed and tightly packed
- 5 large garlic cloves peeled
- 2 dried red chilis seeds removed
- 2 TBSP white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup organic olive oil extra virgin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Combine parsley, garlic, and chilies in a Vitamix or food processor and blend until very fine. With the Vitamix or food processor still running, add the vinegar then olive oil.
- Transfer to a glass bowl stir in the oregano and black pepper.
- Refrigerate for a few hours before using.
Please leave a message to let us know how you liked the Chimichurri recipe, or other favorite recipes using parsley.