An ode to parsley.
When you eat a meal at a restaurant it’s common to see a piece of parsley, a kale leaf or slice of orange garnishing the plate. It’s also common for that garnish to be left untouched, forgotten like a decoration destined for the trash.
But here are five reasons why a garnish — especially parsley — is not simply a beautiful herb to admire, but a great complement to your meal and a digestive aid as well. If you regularly load up on parsley, benefits may include:
1. Reduced gas and bloating
Parsley contains many volatile oils that make it a great carminative. Carminatives help alleviate gas and bloating by reducing inflammation and soothing the gut wall.
2. Fresh breath
Parsley is an effective breath freshener, especially when it comes to garlic breath! A recent study proposed that parsley works enzymatically to deodorize the sulfur compounds that give garlic its distinctive taste.
3. Reduced water retention
Parsley is a natural diuretic, meaning that it helps to get rid of excess water. Sometimes water retention can contribute to high blood pressure, which is one of the reasons parsley is a popular botanical for lowering blood pressure.
Parsley is rich in antioxidants. One study showed that the antioxidants found in parsley were especially good at protecting against DNA mutations and inhibited cancer growth.
5. Natural antimicrobial effects
According to one study, parsley may have a natural antibacterial effect due to its essential oils and other constituents. This same study found that parsley acted against many common foodborne pathogens.
So, if those five reasons are not enough you – parsley is also a vegetable, and while I wouldn’t say that a garnish would count as a serving of fruits or vegetables, every little bit counts. Add it to your vegetable incidentals and eventually they’ll add up to another serving!
— By Maria Russell, ND ('15), resident at Bastyr Center for Natural Health
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