Parsley's green leaves have a knack for getting stuck in your teeth, but the health benefits of this common herb might outweigh its potential for marring your smile. Whether you grow your own parsley or buy it at the supermarket, including it in your diet can potentially boost your health in a number of ways.
A Source of Vitamins
Parsley is packed with vitamins, including A and K. A single tablespoon of fresh parsley has 320 international units of vitamin A, which provides about 11 percent of the recommended daily amount for men and 14 percent of the recommended daily amount for women. Vitamin A contributes to bone growth and healthy vision. One teaspoon of parsley has 62.3 micrograms of vitamin K, accounting for 52 percent and 69 percent of the recommended daily amount for men and women, respectively. Vitamin K contributes to proper blood clotting.
Low Calories, Fat and Sugar
If you're attempting to lose weight or are just watching your waistline, use parsley to add its characteristic flavor to meals without increasing your risk of fat gain. A tablespoon of parsley contains just one calorie and has virtually no fat or sugar. Even if you increase the parsley, the herb's calories, fat and sugar are unlikely to contribute to fat gain.
Parsley acts as a diuretic, which means it can help you reduce water weight and bloating. It also balances your blood sugar to aid in avoiding the food cravings that occur when your blood sugar rises and falls rapidly. Apigenin, a flavonoid in parsley, serves as an anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant and might also reduce your risk of breast and prostate cancer. If you have arthritis pain, parsley might reduce your symptoms.
Understanding Parsley's Minerals
Although some health experts bill parsley as a valuable source of minerals such as calcium and iron, typical use of the herb doesn't provide a significant amount of these minerals. A tablespoon of parsley has 5 milligrams of calcium, which is less than 1 percent of the recommended daily amount for men and women. Likewise, a tablespoon of parsley has just 0.2 milligrams of iron, which is less than 5 percent of the recommended daily amount.