Summer is a great time for trying out new recipes! The freshest ingredients can easily be found at any grocery store, or even better, at your local farm stand. One of the easiest ways to jazz up a summer meal is by adding fresh herbs and spices to it. Not only do fresh herbs increase a meal’s flavor profile but it also helps add a boost of potential health benefits. Parsley has been long used as a garnish to add a lovely visual component to a meal, which is important, but it really can be so much more than that!
Like many other fresh herbs and spices, parsley is extremely high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it protective against almost every age-related disease including cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, eye disorders, and so many more. Parsley contains certain essential oils that are highly beneficial to the body’s immune system. These oils have been shown to help slow tumor growth, especially within the lungs and mammary glands. Additionally, due to its high antioxidant potential, parsley has been known to neutralize oxidative stress and fight off other rogue carcinogens within the body.
There are many reasons why so many meals, especially carb-heavy meals, include and really benefit from the addition of parsley. One being that parsley is a natural diuretic and helps relieve gastrointestinal discomfort and indigestion. The essential oils in parsley have been found to stimulate the kidneys to draw water out of the abdominal region as well as help boost proper enzyme function that is essential to good digestion.
Parsley is also relatively high in folate, a very important B-vitamin. Folate is important for the support of many bodily functions one, in particular, being heart health. Folate plays a starring role in the conversion of potentially heart-damaging molecules into benign molecules.
Parsley has a fresh, slightly pungent peppery taste to it and can easily be added to many meals and beverages. It pairs nicely with any potato or rice dish as well as, chicken, lamb, or fish. It can also be added to smoothies and juices. I enjoy drying it out and adding it to an after-dinner tea with some lemon for digestive support. It can be used year-round from colorful salads in the summer to warming soups in the fall and winter. Any way you use it, fresh or dried, adding parsley to your meals will help you reap many of the health benefits parsley packs into its beautiful frilly leaves.