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10 Powerful Health Benefits of Parsley You Never Knew About

We don’t give parsley much thought, but we should: This herb does more than make your plate look pretty. Here are 10 unexpected health benefits of parsley.

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Parsley smoothiePhoto: Shutterstock

1. Breast Cancer Protection

Living a lifestyle that reduces your cancer risk is wise—here are habits that prevent breast cancer. Parsley may have specific protective benefits against breast cancer. “It contains a chemical compound called apigenin that is known to help inhibit breast cancer cell growth,” says Amanda Capriglione RD, CDN. “Some scientists believe that apigenin can be a possible non-toxic treatment in the future.” Add a handful of flat leaf parsley to salads, smoothies, and soups for maximum benefits.

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Dried parsley leavesPhoto: Shutterstock

2. Fights Inflammation

It’s one of the more troubling general symptoms—inflammation can actually be deadly. 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,” says Brunilda Nazario, MD. “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.”

Here are five of the best exercises to reduce arthritis pain.

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Grilled salmon with parsley toppingPhoto: Shutterstock

3. Makes Grilling Safer

“Consume parsley with your char-grilled chicken, fish, and steak to help minimize the cancer-causing effects of heterocyclic amines,” says Capriglione. “Heterocyclic amines are made when proteins are cooked at high-temperatures.” She suggests making a chimichurri sauce by blending parsley, fresh garlic, salt, pepper, some apple cider or red wine vinegar and olive oil together and adding to cooked meats.

Check out these 4 Indispensable Grilling Secrets You Need to Know.

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Parsley health benefitsPhoto: Shutterstock

4. 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,” says Capriglione. “Make a vitamin C-packed salad with some greens (including parsley), orange pieces, and finish with a lemony vinaigrette.”

Find out how to make your skin glow naturally with these expert tips.

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Parsley on toasted breadPhoto: Shutterstock

5. Strengthens Bones

“Ten sprigs of parsley is enough to reach your daily dose of vitamin K,” says Capriglione. Getting an adequate amount of vitamin K in your diet may help protect against bone fractures, as it helps make the protein for bones and blood clotting.

Find out what to do if you’re suffering from any vitamin deficiencies.

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Parsley soupPhoto: Shutterstock

6. Helps with Digestion

Settle your stomach with the help of this soothing herb. “It can help aid in digestion and help reduce bloating,” says Capriglione. “It contains compounds that enable the expulsion of gas from the body.” Add some flat leaf parsley into your dinner before a big night out.

Read up on these seven common digestive disorders.

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Italian parsley on cutting boardPhoto: Shutterstock

7. Freshens Breath

Although it may not be able to kill all those sulfur compounds that cause bad breath, but eating some of the herb can help freshen the breath and mask any bad odours. “Parsley acts as a natural breath freshener, especially after consuming garlic or onion,” says Capriglione.

This is the easiest way to get rid of bad breath, according to a dentist.

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Dried parsley leavesPhoto: Shutterstock

8. 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,” says Nazario. “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.”

Here are 9 Superfoods for a Healthy Gallbladder Diet.

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Parsley leavesPhoto: Shutterstock

9. Fights Off Heart Disease

Raw parsley contains folate, an important B vitamin, making it a candidate for preventing heart troubles, like these 30 other heart-saving tips. “Folate is involved in maintaining normal levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which is important given that elevated levels are associated with cardiovascular diseases,” says Carolina Guizar, MS, RDN, CDN. “Like vitamin C, folate is heat sensitive and is best retained when consumed in fresh parsley.”

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Parsley on cutting boardPhoto: Shutterstock

10. Protects Your Eyes

“Parsley is a source of plant-based vitamin A,” says Guizar. “Adequate vitamin A intake ensures the optimal health of our eyes, preventing dryness, night blindness, and cataracts.”

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Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest