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4 surprising effects of eating parsley, says Dietitian

No one really thinks to eat the parsley on the dish, unless sprinkled into the actual meal. However, there are some benefits to actually consuming it.

You’re out to dinner and order this delicious, juicy steak or this fresh, homemade pasta dish. Your meal comes out and it looks appetizing and aesthetically pleasing. Sitting on top of the glistening steak or mound of pasta is this little garnish. And instead of eating it, you just push it to the side and continue devouring your meal. You most likely just passed on the leafy herb, parsley.

No one really thinks to eat the parsley on the dish, unless sprinkled into the actual meal. However, there are some benefits to actually consuming it.

1. Parsley nutrition facts

Like other herbs and spices, a small amount of parsley adds a lot of flavor to your dish. However, the small serving also means parsley is not a significant source of any essential nutrients.

The nutrition facts for 1 tablespoon (3.8 grams) of fresh parsley come from the USDA.

Calories: 1.4
Fat: 0
Sodium: 2.13mg
Carbohydrates: 0.241g
Fiber: 0.125g
Protein: 0.113g

Dried parsley packs a more concentrated flavor than the fresh variety. When using the dried herb in place of the fresh, add 1 teaspoon for every 1 tablespoon the recipe calls for. The nutrition information for 1 teaspoon (0.5 grams) of dried parsley comes from the USDA.

Calories: 1.46
Fat: 0
Sodium: 2.26mg
Carbohydrates: 0.253g
Fiber: 0.134g
Protein: 0.133g

Interestingly, many cultures use parsley for medicinal purposes. Researchers note that the flavorful herb has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial activity. It is also a natural laxative that may help with digestion.

4 surprising effects of eating parsley, says Dietitian

2. Surprising effects of eating parsley

You may have fresh breath

“An age-old remedy for bad breath is munching on some fresh parsley,” says medical expert board Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LDN, CLEC, CPT.

This herbaceous green contains natural aromatic oils that give parsley its distinct flavor and scent. And these may help freshen your breath.

Plus, parsley (as well as most leafy greens) contains a compound called chlorophyll. This compound has been studied to reduce body odors and is an active ingredient in some deodorants and mouthwashes.

Although more evidence is needed to confirm this benefit, it still doesn’t hurt to take a bite or two of the leafy green.

“Since it is a low-risk solution for halitosis, even if it doesn’t work, it won’t do any harm,” says Manaker.

You may end up eating less salt

No longer just a bright garnish to place on top of your dish, that parsley decor may be getting eaten instead of pushed to the side.

“Parsley naturally contains a delicious flavor, and including it in dishes may help boost the flavor of the meal without the need for adding too much salt,” says Manaker.

You may support your immune system

You’ve heard about an apple a day, but what about a piece of parsley a day?

According to Manaker, parsley is a natural source of vitamin C, a nutrient well-known to support immune health.

The USDA suggests that one cup of chopped parsley contains 79.8 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin C, as well as 984 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K, which is 1,230% of the recommended intake of vitamin K. Vitamin K may also be helpful to the immune system.

You may experience improved digestion

“Parsley is a source of fiber, which can help keep bowel movements regular and support gut health,” says Manaker.

Not eating enough fiber can lead to being backed up, weight gain, constantly feeling sleepy and bloated, and developing high cholesterol. If you’re using parsley as a garnish, it likely won’t help you meet your fiber needs; however, throw a bunch into a herb salad, toss some leaves on top of grilled fish, or blend it into a chimichurri sauce and you can reap its fibrous benefits.

3. Health benefits of parsley

Cancer Prevention

Parsley contains a large amount of the flavone apigenin. While cooking and/or drying may reduce some of parsley’s other health benefits, it increases the apigenin available in parsley. In fact, dried parsley is the best natural source of apigenin.

Flavones are the pigments in certain flowering plants and powerful antioxidants. Apigenin has demonstrated particular potential as an anticancer agent, but more research is needed.

Bone Health

Parsley is loaded with vitamin K, which has been linked to bone health. The vitamin supports bone growth and bone mineral density. One study on parsley found that it helped protect against osteoporosis in rats.

Eye Health

Parsley contains vitamin A, which helps protect the surface of the eye, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that help prevent age-related macular degeneration.


Diuresis is the process in which your kidneys make extra pee in order to get rid of a substance in your body. Parsley works as a powerful natural diuretic and can help reduce bloating and blood pressure.

Fights inflammation

Parsley helps because it’s high in antioxidants like vitamin C, A, and E, which can help soothe inflammation. This can help reduce the risk of arthritis, an inflammation of the joints. It is also an excellent source of flavonoids, antioxidants that help reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, including cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.

Prevents lines and wrinkles

Eating parsley benefits your complexion. The herb is high in vitamin C, and vitamin C makes collagen, which gives skin its structure and strength. Collagen helps to iron out fine lines and wrinkles. Make a vitamin C-packed salad with some greens (including parsley), orange pieces, and finish with a lemony vinaigrette.

Helps with bladder infections

Suffer from UTIs? Consider adding some parsley into your diet. Homeopathic practitioners use this to treat urinary tract infections and kidney and bladder stones. It contains chemicals that cause muscle contraction in the intestine, bladder, and uterus. Hence, indigestion, UTIs, and menstrual cramps were often treated with concoctions of this herb.

Source: Webmd/Eatthis/verywellfit!

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