Quick! What herb comes to mind when I say appetite-stimulating, digestion-aiding, anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting, heart-healthy, brain-healthy, AND detoxifying? Ok, you guessed because of the title. But did you know all that about dear old humble parsley?
Humble my foot! Let me make the culinary point: I use it in EVERYTHING. Its bright, balancing flavor is welcome in salads and savory dishes. And it’s not like you have to roast it for 40 minutes. A quick chop, and you’re there!
Parsley is said to have been used medicinally in the ancient world even before it was used in the kitchen. Charlemagne is credited by some historians as having popularized parsley throughout Europe. The food of kings!
I recommend flat leaf parsley for cooking. It grows easily in a pot on your windowsill, in your garden, or can be had cheaply at farm markets or grocery stores. This is NOT a rare, expensive, nor difficult to use ingredient. You could wallow in this one! Let’s look more closely at the many health reasons why you should.
What parsley can do for you.
Parsley has unusually high stores of:
- Vitamin A. Maintains brain health. Helps prevent eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration.
- Vitamin C. Three times as much as oranges. Reduces inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Vitamin K. Promotes bone health and keeps brains sharp.
- Folate. Necessary for synthesis and repair of DNA. Inhibits production of homocysteine, which can damage blood vessels.
- Iron. Twice as much as spinach. Transports oxygen to tissues to maintain life and supports energy production.
Parsley is great for:
- Cancer-fighting. Parsley’s volatile oils help activate glutathione, a vital cancer-fighting antioxidant, and have shown promise in limiting the development of lung cancer.
- Cognitive functioning and learning. Loaded with a powerful flavonoid called luteolin that’s been linked with memory improvements.
- Detoxification. Assists our bodies in naturally removing unwanted materials or toxins. Especially supportive of liver and kidneys.
- Digestion. Parsley’s high fiber content makes it a natural aid to digestion. Parsley tea is a traditional remedy for colic, indigestion and intestinal gas.
I’m guessing you have found one or two things on this list that have whet your appetite for parsley? Now the question is…
How do you incorporate parsley in your food life?
Simple: use it in EVERYTHING.
- Drizzles & sauces. Parsley Mint Drizzle and My Everything Drizzle (see video below) are two sensational, signature sauces at my house. Have you ever thought of using parsley in pesto? A colleague of mine in Italy taught me to always mix parsley in with basil pesto. Parsley’s flavor is so bright and clean, it’s like adding oxygen!
- Chopped. Throw parsley leaf in your salad as the surprise pop. So many guests say to me, “This salad! WHAT is so special about this salad?” Often it’s the humble old parsley! Of course, parsley is the very soul of Tabbouleh. In fact, anytime you want to make your food taste even more bright and wonderful, try adding chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest -- a classic gremolata!
- Smoothies. If there was EVER something to add to a smoothie it would be parsley! Its nice, clean flavor and nutrient density add a welcome punch.
- Sprinkled. On everything. Experiment! Chop and sprinkle.
My Everything Drizzle is my favorite, my go-to. It has earned a hallowed spot in my refrigerator as a homemade pantry necessity. It’s so quick, you won’t believe.
All I can say is, make it and try it so you can experience the flavor. That’s the BEST advice I can give you.
Waxing poetic about parsley.
As you note, I get really passionate about parsley! Parsley is NOT to be overlooked. An unsung hero. Don’t let that bunch of parsley languish in your refrigerator, after you use the tiny bit a recipe called for. Chop!