Nutrition

The fantastic health effects of parsley

Originally from the Mediterranean basin, parsley has been used for at least 5,000 years as an aromatic with a pleasant, delicate and refreshing taste. But, beyond the gustatory pleasure associated with it, parsley contains a treasure of bioactive molecules with multiple positive effects on health.

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a member of the Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) family, a highly diverse plant family that also includes coriander, chervil, fennel, and cumin, as well as vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, and the celery. Parsley leaves have played a major role in the development of the culinary traditions of the Mediterranean basin, particularly in the eastern portion of this region where they are used not only as a condiment to enhance the flavor of dishes, but also as a vegetable, for example in the Lebanese tabbouleh. However, far from being restricted to this region of the world, the cultivation of parsley has gradually spread worldwide and this herb has become over time one of the most commonly used herbs in the kitchen.

A powerful anti-inflammatory effect

In addition to its unique flavor, parsley stands out for its exceptional content of apigenin, a polyphenol whose anticancer activity is currently arousing great interest in the scientific community. Indeed, multiple studies carried out in the laboratory have shown that this molecule has strong anti-inflammatory activity and interferes with the growth of cancer cells isolated from several types of tumours. Interestingly, a study by Harvard University found that women who consumed the highest amounts of apigenin were 21% less likely to be affected by ovarian cancer than those whose intake in this molecule was the weakest.

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The Lebanese stool: eating parsley as a dish

Even though aromatics are generally consumed in small amounts and, therefore, are not major sources of polyphenols, the fact remains that regular consumption of these herbs can contribute to the prevention of diseases. For example, studies have shown that people who ate significant amounts of parsley had a noticeable buildup of apigenin in the blood, in amounts high enough to block a number of processes involved in cancer cell growth. In addition, since apigenin is eliminated relatively slowly from the body, regular consumption of foods containing large amounts of this molecule (such as parsley or celery) can also contribute to reaching sufficient blood levels of apigenin. . With this in mind, tabbouleh is undoubtedly one of the best ways to consume good quantities of parsley.

While we are too often accustomed to using fat, sugar or even salt as a seasoning, the observations made on the beneficial effects of parsley constitute a good example of the health advantages of using spices and aromatics for enhance the taste of our daily dishes. Prevention can really be synonymous with good taste!

Source

Patell et al. : Apigenin and cancer chemoprevention: progress, potential and promise, Int. J. Oncol 30: 233-45.

Gates et al. : Flavonoid intake and ovarian cancer risk in a population-based case-control study, Int J Cancer. 124: 1918-25.

Meyer et al. : Bioavailability of apigenin from apiinrich parsley in humans, Ann Nutr Metab. 50:167-72.

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