7 health benefits of parsley and how to make the most of it

Parsley is a herb used to garnish dishes. It comes with a host of health benefits such as better heart health and bone health.
Parsley is a herb that has been used for generation as a seasoning agent as well as for its medicinal value. Image courtesy: Pexels
Anjuri Nayar Singh Published: 23 May 2024, 16:30 pm IST
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Parsley is a powerhouse of health benefits! This herb is used to garnish food and is used as a flavouring ingredient as well. Besides this, the leaf as well as the seed and oil have medicinal value. From boosting bone health and helping digestion to appetite stimulation and improving blood pressure – parsley is known for its great nutritional value. Read on to learn more about the benefits of parsley and how to use it for a healthy diet!

What is parsley?

A flowering plant originating from the Mediterranean, the parsley plant was first used by ancient Greeks and Romans to flavour and garnish their food, as well as a medicine since prehistoric times. The herb can be divided into two broad types. The first type of parsley is called French Curry lead, and the other one is known as Italian flat leaf. Parsley health benefits are immense as it is a rich source of many nutrients. It also contains antioxidants which are great for your body. It is also beneficial in fighting cancer and helps with better eyesight as well.

Parsley nutrition

Is parsley good for you? Yes, it is extremely healthy for you and comes with a long list of health benefits. According to Food Data Central, half a cup of parsley or approximately 30 grams of parsley contains the following:

  • Calories: 11 calories
  • Carbs: 2 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: less than 1 gram
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Vitamin A: 108 percent of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin C: 53 percent of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 547 percent of the RDI
  • Folate: 11 percent of the RDI
  • Potassium: 4 percent of the RDI

Health benefits of Parsley

These little leaves have a lot of nutrition to provide. Here are some of the ways that they help our body function better!

1. Rich in vitamins

One of the biggest parsley benefits is that it is rich in vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin C. A study, published in the journal Open Heart reports that vitamin K is great for blood clotting, while the journal Critical Reviews of Food Science and Nutrition contains a study that talks about vitamin A and vitamin C being rich in antioxidants.

Parsley can be mixed with other herbs and green vegetables to enhance taste. Image courtesy: Freepik

2. Rich in antioxidants

Antioxidants are required for the smooth functioning of our bodies as they prevent cellular damage. Parsley is rich in flavonoids and carotenoids. Flavonoids such as myricetin and apigenin are present in parsley. These can help in preventing various cancers as well as heart disease and diabetes, reports a Nutrients study. Meanwhile, carotenoids help with the prevention of lung cancer. It is important to note here that dried parsley has 17 times more antioxidants than fresh parsley, reports a study, published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

3. Aids bone health

Another health benefit of parsley is that it can aid better bone health. The herb affects calcium balance in our bodies, which is a key element in supporting bone density and strength, states this study, published in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies. The rat study also claimed that it can help reduce the chance of osteoporosis. Parsley is rich in vitamin K, which can reduce the risk of fractures, and help to build bone strength.

4. It can fight cancer

When it comes to fighting a variety of cancers, parsley can be helpful. This study, published in Cell & Bioscience, claims that parsley contains Apigenin, which is a flavonoid that helps fight cancer. This flavonoid also suppresses an enzyme called IKKa, which is used by cancer cells to multiply themselves. Parsley can also reduce oxidative stress in your body. A balance of free radicals and antioxidants is needed by our bodies, and when there is an imbalance, it is known as Oxidative stress. This can lead to many chronic diseases, including cancer.

5. It can help eyesight

The carotenoids present in parsley can help with better vision and eyesight, reports this study, published in Nutrients. Parsley contains lutein and zeaxanthin can help with age-related macular degeneration as well, a condition that can lead to blindness. Another study suggests that lutein and zeaxanthin can reduce the risk of AMD (age-related macular degeneration) by 26 per cent. Parsley also contains another carotenoid called beta carotene, and this changes to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A helps to protect the cornea and conjunctiva.

6. Good for the heart

Eating parsley every day can be great for your heart as well. Parsley contains vitamin B folate and this can help with reducing heart diseases. This study, published in the journal Stroke, studied the effect of vitamin B folate on 23 119 men and 35 611 women for 14 years. It was reported that there was a 38 per cent reduced chance of heart disease in those who got vitamin B folate. Additionally, parsley is also rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, which can reduce the risk of chronic heart diseases and strokes.

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7. Prevents growth of bacteria

Parsley has antibacterial properties that can help our body in many ways. A study, published by the National Institute of Health, states that it can help fight S. aureus, a bacteria that causes infections such as yeast and moulds. It also stops bacteria from growing in food such as Listeria and Salmonella. This can cause food poisoning, reports a study, published in Meat Science.

While cilantro and parsley look similar, they are different in their nutritional values. Image courtesy: Freepik

How to use parsley

Parsley is used widely for flavouring and garnishing a variety of dishes. It helps to enhance the flavours of soups, stir-fries, sauces and stews. Also, dried parsley can be used as an ingredient as well in many recipes. It can also be combined with other dry herbs and leaves and used in Italian dishes. Parsley leaves can be blended and made into a sauce. They can also be chopped and used in salad dressings as well as garnishing. The stems are crunchy and can be added to recipes. Wondering how to chop parsley? Make sure to finely chop parsley. Make sure that the leaves have no water on them, as they may stick to the knife while chopping.

How to keep parsley fresh?

It is very important to store parsley well as it can get spoilt quickly. Wondering how to store parsley? Make sure to trim the bottoms off, so that the herb stays fresh for a long. Place them in a jar, filled with water. Up to two inches of the stems should be submerged in water. Now, cover the leaves with a plastic bag loosely, and store this in the refrigerator. Alternatively, keeping parsley wrapped in a damp towel, in the refrigerator can help keep it fresh as well.

Parsley vs cilantro

Can cilantro be used as a parsley substitute? Both cilantro and parsley come from the same botanical family and look the same as well. However, both herbs are different. While parsley has a fresh smell, cilantro has more of a spicy aroma. Besides this, the nutritional value differs slightly. According to Food data central, 28 g of parsley contains 10 calories while the same amount of cilantro has 6 calories. Cilantro has less vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A and folate than parsley.

What is parsley tea?

Parsley tea is made from the leaves and roots of the herb. Parsley tea benefits are immense. It is used to treat infections such as urinary tract infections as well as kidney stones and water retention. To make parsley tea, add the leaves to a pot of boiling water and let it soak for 10 minutes. This tea can be had three times a day for best results.


Parsley is a great herb that can be added to soups, salads, stir-fries as well as sauces. It helps with better heart health, and bone health as well as keeps your overall health in check. However, it is very important to store it well so that it does not dry quickly.


Anjuri Nayar Singh

Anjuri Nayar Singh has over 12 years of experience in writing for various topics including lifestyle, films, television and OTT. She also writes on art and culture, education and human interest stories. ...Read More

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