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Overview

While parsley is a wonderfully nutritious and healing food, it is often under-appreciated. Most people do not realize that this vegetable has more uses than just being a decorative garnish that accompanies restaurant meals. They do not know that parsley is actually a storehouse of nutrients and that it features a delicious green and vibrant taste.

The two most popular types of parsley are curly parsley and Italian flat leaf parsley. The Italian parsley variety has a more fragrant and less bitter taste than the curly variety. There is also another type of parsley known as turnip-rooted (or Hamburg) that is cultivated for its roots, which resemble salsify and burdock.

Parsley belongs to the Umbelliferae family of plants, and its latin name is Petroselinum crispum.

History

Parsley is native to the Mediterranean region of Southern Europe.

While parsley has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years, parsley was used medicinally prior to being consumed as a food. The ancient Greeks held parsley to be sacred, using it to not only adorn victors of athletic contests, but also for decorating the tombs of the deceased.

The practice of using parsley as a garnish actually has a long history that can be traced back to the civilization of the ancient Romans.

Benefits

Parsley is a good source of folic acid, one of the most important B vitamins. While it plays numerous roles in the body, one of its most critical roles in relation to cardiovascular health is its necessary participation in the process through which the body converts homocysteine into benign molecules.

Homocysteine is a potentially dangerous molecule when, at high levels, can directly damage blood vessels and high levels of homocysteine are associated with a significantly increased risk of heart attack and stroke in people with atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease.

Enjoying foods rich in folic acid, like parsley, is an especially good idea for individuals who either have, or wish to prevent, these diseases.

Folic acid is also a critical nutrient for proper cell division and is therefore vitally important for cancer-prevention in two areas of the body that contain rapidly dividing cells-the colon, and in women, the cervix.

Nutritional Profile

Parsley is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K.

It is a good source of iron and folate.

Parsley’s volatile oil components include myristicin, limonene, eugenol and alpha-thujene.

Its flavonoids include apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol and luteolin.

Disclaimer

The information provided is for educational purposes only and must not be taken or interpreted as a suggestion or as medical advise.

If you have any medical conditions, you should consult your health care professional.

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