Before you dismiss that rather uninspiring piece of garnish on the side of your plate, it is worth knowing its many health benefits. Originally native to the Mediterranean, parsley has been used for centuries for its healing qualities, and offers so much more than decoration for a pizza. Many people are choosing to drink parsley as a smoothie, but what are the benefits of this ancient herb? And are there any drawbacks?
Parsley contains phytochemicals known as flavonoids. As well as giving plants their bright colours, these have a diuretic effect and can lower your blood pressure. A healthier flow of fluids though your kidneys will help to cleanse them of any bacteria and toxins that they have accumulated. It is thought that this in turn helps reduce the risk of kidney stones, although clinical trials have been inconclusive.
vitamins A and C
Parsley is packed with vitamins A and C. Containing around a quarter of your daily intake of vitamin C, a few sprigs of parsley will help promote healthy skin, bones and immune system. Vitamin A, also known as retinol, helps repair your retinas allowing you to see in poor light, and you can get your entire daily intake of this through parsley.
Red blood cells need a healthy supply of iron to effectively distribute oxygen throughout the body, preventing anemia and supporting healthy muscle and brain function. A lack of iron in the diet is characterised by poor concentration, fatigue and tired muscles. While foods such as red meat and eggs offer higher levels of iron, the vitamin C found in parsley helps your body absorb it better.
rich in antioxidants
Parsley is rich in antioxidants which help combat the effect of free radicals. This helps maintain healthy cells and protect them from cancer.
relieve stomach cramps
Chewing on parsley can help to cleanse your palate, freshen your breath and relieve stomach cramps. So next time you have a 12 inch seafood pizza, leave some room for this piece of seemingly useless garnish.
Moderation is the key
As we are not used to eating parsley, there may be a few side effects as our bodies learn to adapt. The most common of these are headaches and loss of balance, although this should only occur after ingesting a sizable amount. For some people, the detox effect could place a strain upon their kidneys. For pregnant women, this could stimulate uterine contractions in some cases. Like many other aspects of nutrition, moderation is key.