Parsley
Parsley

Parsley is the world's most popular herb. It derives its name from the Greek word meaning "rock celery" (parsley is a relative to celery). It is a biennial plant that will return to the garden year after year once it is established. 

The two most popular types of parsley are curly parsley and Italian flat leaf parsley. The Italian 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.

Parsley for a Healthy Heart

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 that, 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.

Protection against Rheumatoid Arthritis

Studies indicate that vitamin C-rich foods, such as parsley, provide humans with protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas

  • Combine chopped parsley with bulgur wheat, chopped green onions (scallions), tomatoes, mint leaves, lemon juice and olive oil to make the Middle Eastern classic dish,tabouli.
  • Add parsley to pesto sauce to add more texture to its green colour.
  • Combine chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest, and use it as a rub for chicken, lamb and beef.
  • Use parsley in soups and tomato sauces.
  • Serve a colourful salad of fennel, orange, cherry tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and parsley leaves.
  • Chopped parsley can be sprinkled on a host of different recipes, including salads, vegetable sautés and grilled fish.

Next time parsley appears on your plate as a garnish, recognize its true worth and partake of its abilities to improve your health. As an added bonus, you'll also enjoy parsley's legendary ability to cleanse your palate and your breath at the end of your meal.

Some Concerns for people with kidney or gallbladder problems

Parsley and Oxalates

Parsley is among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating parsley.

 

The world’s healthiest foods:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=100
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