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Though traditionally overlooked as just a garnish, parsley is a giant amongst other herbs in terms of health benefits, and in such small amounts too. Here are six reasons why a sprinkle of parsley can not only make your meals tastier, but also your body healthier.
Studies show that myristicin, an organic compound found in the essential oil of parsley, not only inhibits tumor formation (especially in the lungs), but also activates the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, which helps the molecule glutathione attach to, and fight against, oxidized molecules. Myristicin can also neutralize carcinogens like benzopyrene in cigarette smoke that can pass through the body, consequently fighting against colon and prostate cancer.
Parsley is rich with an antioxidant arsenal that includes luteolin, a flavonoid that searches out and eradicates free radicals in the body that cause oxidative stress in cells. Luteolin also promotes carbohydrate metabolism and serves the body as an anti-inflammatory agent. Furthermore, two tablespoons of parsley contain 16% of the RDA of vitamin C and over 12% of the RDA of vitamin A - two powerful antioxidants.
Along with luteolin, the vitamin C found in parsley serves as an effective anti-inflammatory agent within the body. When consumed regularly, they combat the onset of inflammatory disorders, such as osteoarthritis (the degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying bone) and rheumatoid arthritis (a disease causing inflammation in the joints).
Healthy Immune System
The vitamin C and vitamin A found in parsley serve to strengthen the body's immune system, though in different ways. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen, the main structural protein found in connective tissue. This essential nutrient will not only accelerate the body's ability to repair wounds, but also maintain healthy bones and teeth.
Vitamin A, on the other hand, fortifies the entry points into the human body, such as mucous membranes, the lining of the eyes, and respiratory, urinary and intestinal tracts. Moreover, lymphocytes, or white blood cells, rely on vitamin A to fight infection in the body.
A Healthy Heart Homocysteine, an amino acid that occurs in the body, threatens the body's blood vessels when its levels become too high. Luckily, the folate (or vitamin B9) found in parsley helps convert homocysteine into harmless molecules. A regular garnish of parsley can help ward off cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis.
Two tablespoons of parsley have a whopping 153% of the RDA of vitamin K, which is necessary for the synthesis of osteocalcin, a protein that strengthens the composition of our bones. Vitamin K also prevents calcium build-up in our tissue that can lead to atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Finally, the vitamin K found in parsley is essential for synthesizing sphingolipid, the fat needed to maintain the myelin sheath around our nerves, and therefore our nervous system as a whole.