Parsley the Superfood
This month is a body cleansing month. Therefore my blog posts would not be complete without writing about Parsley. Most people use this herb just as favouring, sprinkled on food, but only a few people realize that this humble herb is actually a Superfood. What I mean by a Superfood is a food that is packed with health promoting nutrients. Parsley certainly falls in this category. I also became interested in Parsley because of my growing interest in kidney health. Why kidneys? It’s because of my growing interest in detox in general and especially detox as preventative medicine. What I mean by this is that my medical focus is more and more on preventative medicine and treatment with natural compounds found in supplements and healthy foods and not just symptomatic pharmaceutical treatment of many diseases that could have been prevented by a healthy lifestyle and especially healthy foods such as Parsley.
The best way to benefit from this herb is by juicing it and drinking an ounce to two ounces per day. The juice contains the highest concentration of the health promoting compounds and it is the juice that has the best absorption. So what are these compounds and how do they contribute to our health? First there is a long list of phytonutrients. Some of the more prevalent ones are Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Rutin nd Apigenin. The have anti-cancer properties as well as anti-oxidant properties. They help protect cells from free radical damage and thus have an anti-aging property. Secondly the juice contains vitamins A, Bs, C, K, as well as Iron and Folate. Vitamin A as many of us know is essential for good vision. The B vitamins take part as cofactors in many enzymatic reactions in our body. Without them the whole system would shut down. Vitamin C is an antioxidant protecting cells from free radical damage. It is also necessary for proper synthesis of connective tissue, something very important in the maintenance of elasticity of our blood vessels. Without such elasticity arteries harden and cannot change their diameter due to changes in blood pressure. The consequence of this is chronic hypertension as well as arterial plaque formation. Both conditions lead to heart attacks and strokes. Iron is essential for hemoglobin formation, and hemoglobin is an essential part of red blood cells. Without it red blood cell would not have the capacity to carry oxygen to all organs of the body. Folate on the other hand is also essential for proper DNA replication and DNA replication is essential for every single cell of the body. Folate also neutralizes Homocystine, the molecule directly implicated in the formation of arterial plaques (otherwise known as atherosclerosis).
Other amazing health promoting nutrients in parsley are the anti-oxidants Monoterpenes, Polyacetylenes and Phthalides. All these have cellular protective and anti-cancer properties.
As far as kidney health is concerned all the anti-oxidant mentioned above protect the kidneys form free radical damage. But there are also two compounds called Myristicin and Apiole that act as natural diuretics. They increase the filtration of blood in the kidneys and thus increase urine flow. In this way these compound help eliminate toxins form the body as well as flush the kidneys to remove any residual toxins that have accumulated there. The kidneys work like filters and just as filters get dirty over time so the kidneys sometimes accumulate residual toxins. Parsley helps flush these toxins as well as promote the filtering of the blood by acting as a natural diuretic. By the way, this may also be very helpful for some women during the premenstrual period in order to flush excess fluid buildup that has accumulated in various tissues. Parsley also contains a high level of the amino acid Histidine which is essential in wound healing.
Finally ( I know, the list just keeps on going and going) Apiole oil (mentioned above) may also help regulate monthly periods in women during their reproductive years. However, because this compound is a natural abortificient, pregnant women should not drink Parsley juice and should avoid Parsley altogether. Another important contraindication is that people with oxalate stones of the kidneys should avoid Parsley juice; this is because the juice is high in oxalic acid a component of oxalate stones.
Other then these two cautionary notes you can’t deny the fact that Parsley is a Superfood packed with health promoting nutrients. As a side note, when I actually make the juice myself I also throw a few fresh carrots, some spinach, and a piece of fresh ginger into the juicer to even further enrich the juice with anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and cell healing compounds for feeling great and for optimal health. See you next time.