Parsley- the super food!

Parsley: The Forgotten Superfood

Posted on July 21, 2010 by land animal

Today we hear a lot about superfoods like acai and maca root. ( You can even get them in your corn syrup popsicles! ) But have you ever stopped to ask what a “superfood” is anyway? If you were hoping for a standard definition, there isn’t one.  The best crack at a working one would be that a superfood is a food that is high in phytonutrients. So when I talk about superfoods, that is what I mean. I think of a superfood as a food that  packs a lot of nutrients. Among the many, many plants that are nutrient-dense little powerhouses, one strikes me as the most forgotten:

Parsley

Ok, so it technically is an herb, but it is chock full of phytonutrients. Just how full? Try 222 % your recommended daily intake (RDI) of Vitamin C and 1562 % RDI of Vitamin K in just 1 cup.  And it doesn’t end there: 1 cup also has 50 % of your RDI of iron and 38 % of folate. But, wait, there’s more: it also contains significant amounts of your RDI for calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus and B vitamins 1,2,3,5 and 6 (USDA Nutrient Database).

Parsley is also rich in antioxidants, specifically luteolin, and qualifies as a “chemoprotective” food because it contains myristicin, which has been shown to help neutralize certain specific carcinogens.

But with it’s characteristically strong flavor, how do you work it into your diet? First off, the stuff is so rich in pytonutrients that you don’t have to eat much at all. I put 1/2 cup of parsley in my morning green smoothie several times a week.

However, there are a few important reasons not to eat parsley excessively:

  • Parsley should not be consumed as a drug or supplement by pregnant women. Parsley as an oil, root, leaf, or seed could lead to uterine stimulation and preterm labor.[12]
  • Parsley is high (1.70% by mass, [1]) in oxalic acid, a compound involved in the formation of kidney stones and a causal agent in some types of mineral deficiencies.

If you are pregnant or have kidney issues, please note these reasons to be especially wary!  As a rule of thumb in my life and here at my blog, I advocate eating with diversity and moderation.  Spinach is another incredibly healthy food that is rich in nutrients, but contains significant amounts of oxalates.  So does that meant you shouldn’t eat spinach or parsley? No. It just means not to make them the staple in your diet. My view is to avoid having the majority of my calories come from any one individual food because in doing so I will be increasing my likelihood of experience the negative aspects of that food.  However, I am not a doctor or dietitian, so believe them over me!  But I’m pretty sure they will agree that for a healthy individual parsley is a great source of vitamins and minerals, just don’t overdo it or anything else :) .

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Published on July 21, 2010 at 8:52 AM  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Very nice site!


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