This weeks Make My Meals was a little partial towards parsley. It was all about getting it in to your meals rather than disregarding it as unwanted garnish!
Parsley originates from the same family as celery, which is made slightly more obvious when you take a closer look at their leaves. I know not something done very often, but if you get a chance notice they are very similar in shape. Ok, enough of the facts!
Due to its abundance of volatile oils and flavonoids, parsley is considered a ‘chemo protective food’. This is because the volatile oils present (especially myristicin) have been proven to reduce tumour size and also aid the neutralization of certain carcinogens such as those in cigarette smoke. Furthermore, the flavonoids (especially luteolin) mimic antioxidants and fight off cancer causing free radicals.
Parsley is also an excellent source of vitamin K and vitamin C, as well as providing us with essential vitamin A, folate and iron. Vitamin K plays a key part in blood clotting. On the whole we associate blood clots with negative impact. However, efficient blood clotting is a vital part of the repair mechanism when we cut ourselves. If we could not form a blood clot then we would we bleed out and die.
We all associate good vitamin C intake with a reduced risk in scurvy, but that is not so much of risk in this day and age with advancements in dental health. A healthy vitamin C intake has now been linked to a reduction in atherosclerosis, colon cancer, diabetes and asthma, due it is anti-inflammatory and free radical fighting properties. Vitamin A is present in parsley as beta-carotene. This is normally famous for turning food an orange/red colour, however this is disguised in parsley by chlorophyll which makes it green. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin which has been linked to positive improvements with eye health.
Finally the folate and iron present in parsley may help to reduce the risk of anaemia and due to boosting the red blood cell count and thus the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.
Also parsley is said to keep the breath fresh and admirers chasing…so keep chewing!