6 Healthy Reasons to Add More Parsley to Your Diet

It's a good-for-you garnish that's packed with health benefits.

Native to the central and eastern Mediterranean regions, parsley is a flowering plant that has been naturalized in Europe and widely used as a fresh or dried herb in dishes around the globe. It's green in color and known for having a mildly bitter flavor that works well in an array of recipes, whether fused with other ingredients or used as a garnish.

Parsley has also garnered a healthy reputation for being among the top disease-fighting herbs, recognized by the CDC as a powerhouse plant for its high nutrient density and ability to help ward off chronic illnesses.

Curious to know more about this deeply green garnish? We've broken down some of parsley's top health benefits below and made it easy to add to your diet with some of our favorite recipes.

Parsley Benefits

Major Source of Calcium

"Move over collard greens and broccoli stems: One cup of parsley contains 83 mg of calcium," says Laura Cipullo, RD, registered dietitian and founder of Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition and Yoga. Experts recommend adults consume 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day to keep bones strong, muscles fresh, and their heart healthy (more on calcium benefits here).

Additional vital minerals found in parsley include potassium, magnesium, folate, and iron, which is an essential element when it comes to blood production.

Contains Vitamins A, C, K, and More

That same cup of parsley packs an estimated 80 mg of vitamin C (known for helping to boost immunity) along with vitamins A (which promotes healthy vision and development) and K (regarded for its bone-forming, anticancer properties).

Harnesses the Power of Antioxidants

"You can also benefit from important antioxidants [found in parsley], such as lutein and zeaxanthin," says Cipullo, which can help defend against free radicals and reduce eye-related illnesses.

Supports the Gastric System

"Parsley decreases gastric inflammation by supporting the cellular antioxidant enzyme system," says Cipullo. "Another outstanding benefit of consuming parsley regularly is its association with decreasing stress-induced injury to your gastric system. This means parsley directly acts against the reactive oxygen species that cause damage to your stomach and gastrointestinal tract, especially in individuals with gastric ulcers and ulcerative colitis."

Helps With Diabetes

In one study, diabetic rats who were treated with parsley demonstrated significantly lower levels of blood glucose, alkaline phosphatase, and alanine transaminase, suggesting that parsley may have significant hepatoprotective effects (a liver damage protective property).

Reduces Risk of Cancer

Cipullo notes that parsley, being an umbellifer herb (along with celery and coriander), has shown positive associations with decreased cancer cell activity. "While it adds flavor to our green juices, Italian sauces, and Mediterranean salads, the flavone apigen that's abundant in parsley inhibits cancer cell migration and invasion and stimulates a protective immune response," she explains. "Including apigen with other anti-cancer drugs may play a role in cancer treatment in the near future."

Delicious Ways to Enjoy Parsley

Ready to start reaping the benefits of parsley? Add a refreshing dash to your favorite omelettes, vegetables, pastas, and fruit salads, or take your cooking to the next level with these delicious recipes that celebrate parsley.

Parsley Shoestring Fries served on a plate with steak
Victor Protasio

Garlic and Parsley Shoestring Fries

This is a simple way to upgrade fries, and make it easy on yourself if hosting a party or if looking for quick side dish. Get the recipe.

Torn Pita and Eggplant Salad With Parsley and Green Tahini
Jennifer Causey

Torn Pita and Eggplant Salad With Parsley and Green Tahini

A pop of green cuts through lemon eggplant and nutty tahini in this deconstructed baba ghanoush. Get the recipe.

Fried Herb Salsa Recipe
Victor Protasio

Fried Herb Salsa

This flavor-packed dressing is ready to be an all-star player in your kitchen. Frying the oregano and rosemary draws out toasted notes while the sharp, fresh parsley highlights vegetal tones. Get the recipe.

Summer Squash With Scallions, Chile, and Parsley
Greg DuPree

Summer Squash With Scallions, Chile, and Parsley

Say hello to summer in a bowl. A leafy salad of delicately sliced green and yellow zucchini gets crunch from chopped almond dressing and sliced green onion. Get the recipe.

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  2. DiNicolantonio JJ, Bhutani J, O'Keefe JH. The health benefits of vitamin KOpen Heart. 2015;2(1):e000300. doi:10.1136/openhrt-2015-000300

  3. American Optometric Association, Diet and Nutrition.

  4. Bolkent S, Yanardag R, Ozsoy-Sacan O, et al. Effects of parsley (Petroselinum crispum) on the liver of diabetic rats: a morphological and biochemical study. Phytother Res. 2004 Dec;18(12):996-9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.1598. PMID: 15742348.

  5. Shankar E, Goel A, Gupta K, et al. Plant flavone apigenin: An emerging anticancer agent. Curr Pharmacol Rep. 2017;3(6):423-446. doi:10.1007/s40495-017-0113-2

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