Parsley: More than a Garnish

Most people know parsley as those little sprigs of green often used to dress up food at finer restaurants. But do you know that parsley has many health benefits?

Parsley actually has a delicious and unique taste, so the next time you see try eating a little of this colorful dinner plate decoration. Parsley is quite nutritious and tasty, and parsley is generally found annually in the local supermarket.

Parsley: much more than a garnish
Here are two believe it or not facts: parsley is the most popular herb in the world, and it is genetically related to celery. It is a perennial , and it's able to regenerate in the garden year after year on only one planting. Parsley is quite easy to grow in any little herb garden, and many healthy eaters find that growing their own parsley is a good alternative to buying it in the grocery store.

A sprig of parsley contains much more than just good looks on the plate. Parsley contains two unusual compounds that can provide some unique health benefits. The first are volatile oil compounds, such as eugenol, limonene, alpha diujene, and myisticin. The other set of compounds are the flavonoids, including the elements apjin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin.

Volatile oils in parsley
The volatile oils contained in a sprig of parsley, myisticin in particular, are believed to help inhibit the growth of tumors in animals. It's also thought the same may be true of humans. Myisticin has shown some promise in inhibiting the growth of tumors in the lungs.

The volatile oils in parsley are also thought to guard against pollutants in the environment, like exhaust from cars and secondhand cigarette smoke.

Unfortunately, too few people fully appreciate the nutritional value of parsley as food, and they look upon it purely as a disposable garnish. Parsley makes a healthy treat in salads and sprinkled over other foods, and it can even be put into a juicer for a healthy and delicious snack.

Types of parsley
Parsley comes in two basic varieties -- Italian flat leaf parsley and curly parsley. The Italian form of parsley features a more intense aroma and a less bitter taste than the curly type. On top of these two common varieties, there is a third form of parsley, much lesser known. The third type is called turnip rooted parsley, and it's grown for its roots.

When buying parsley, whether the flat leaf, curly, or turnip rooted kind, choose the freshest parsley you can find. Most supermarkets and grocery stores have at least one variety of parsley available year round, so it should not be difficult to find, no matter what part of the world you call home.

Disclaimer: Throughout this website, statements are made pertaining to the properties and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.