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cilantro-1287301_640Parsley is a little Mediterranean herb that is mainly known as a garnish in American, European, and Middle Eastern cooking.  However, parsley can also be served as a main dish, too, such as tabbouleh, a Levantine vegetarian dish.  The parsley root, which is rarely discussed, is actually used quite commonly in casseroles, soups, and stews.  On top of that, parsley actually offers numerous health benefits and is worthwhile to be considered as part of your healthy foods list.

Parsley is rich in many vital vitamins, including but not limited to Vitamin A, B’s, C, E, and K.  This means parsley helps keep your immune system strong, tone your bones, and heal the nervous system.  The folic acid in this herb is important in aiding growth, such as in infancy, and in producing healthy red blood cells, such as to prevent anemia.  Regular consumption of parsley can assist in controlling your blood pressure.  Though, excessive consumption is not recommended for pregnant women, because it can induce labor.  Parsley can also support kidney functions and encourages digestion by helping to flush out excess fluids from the body.  However, the herb does contain oxalates, which can cause problems for those with existing kidney or gall bladder conditions.

Parsley have been shown to function as an antioxidant as well as an anti-inflammatory.  So, parsley helps with joint pain relief for those with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.  Parsley tea, for example, helps prevent stiff muscles.  Parsley is rich in beta-carotene, which works in the fat-soluble areas of your body, and beta-carotene-rich foods have been associated with a reduced risk for the development and progression of diabetes.  Moreover, studies suggest that parsley’s essential oils may play a role in inhibiting tumor formation and help neutralize carcinogens.  These benefits qualify parsley as a chemo-protective healthy food.

Parsley is a surprisingly healthy food that often goes unnoticed.  Most of us do not realize that this vegetable has more uses than just being a decoration.  So, the next time you pass by the fruits and vegetables section of your local grocery store, stop by the herbs and consider parsley.

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