I wanted to look at parsley health benefits today because it often gets overlooked and seen as just a garnish.
I’ve been loving all the great articles and recipes showing the benefits of kale, but I want to make sure parsley doesn’t get lost in the shadows because the benefits of parsley are just as huge!
I remember once when I was about 7 years old, my brother told me to eat the parsley that was sitting beside my food in a restaurant. He said it tasted good.
Do you have an older brother? If you do, maybe you were like me and believed everything he said…
So, being the adoring little sister I was, I picked that parsley up and took a bite.
Now little 7-year-old tastebuds that are used to pancakes and spaghetti sauce don’t tend to appreciate bitter parsley when it’s raw and eaten on its own.
Needless to say, I did not think it tasted good back then, and turned beet red while my brother laughed.
But once I learned about all the parsley health benefits, I was motivated to learn to love it.
When you put parsley into a salad with a delicious dressing, or stir it into a yummy soup, the experience is totally different.
And my tastebuds have grown up enough that they don’t hate bitterness anymore, so I can even enjoy parsley on its own now.
I also still love my brother, despite the parsley and other older-brotherly tricks…
All of the dark green leafy vegetables are full of nutrients, and although the love of kale going around makes me ecstatic I want us to love all of them for their own unique benefits.
They all have different levels of nutrients, and they all have slightly different antioxidants, polyphenols and other compounds that help our bodies in different ways.
To give it its credit, kale does have the highest levels of lots of the major nutrients.
But there are some nutrients where parsley nutrition outshines even kale…
Don’t believe it? I made a chart to show the nutritional breakdown of the main salad greens…
Leafy Green And Parsley Nutrition Comparison Chart
So this is my comparison on the nutrient breakdown of leafy greens:
(All are measured for 1 cup)
If you click on the image, you can download a full-size pdf that you can read without a magnifying glass 😉
Parsley Health Benefits – Where Parsley Really Shines
If you’re not a chart/numbers person, here are the main nutrients that make parsley stand out from the crowd:
- Vitamin A: good for your eyes, skin and immune system – parsley gives you 36% of your daily needs in just 1 cup.
- Folate: most notably important for pregnant women, but also for everyone else to have healthy blood and support your brain function – 1 cup of parsley contributes a whopping 23% of your daily intake.
- Vitamin C: famous for boosting your immune system, it’s also a key nutrient for your adrenal glands – parsley has you covered with 106% of your RDI in a cup.
- Vitamin K: helps your blood clot properly and plays a role in bone mineralization – parsley tops the charts with 1093% of your daily needs for vitamin K.
- Iron: the transporter of oxygen to your tissues and the garbage collector getting rid of carbon dioxide – parsley has 21% of your daily iron intake in a cup, and since it also has lots of vitamin C it should be absorbed very well.
And I’m even luckier, because my parsley is grown organically and I eat it fresh so I probably get way more than those numbers, which come from the USDA via NutritionData.self.com.
Like most leafy greens, you can make the most of parsley benefits when you eat it fresh.
If you don’t like curly parsley, give Italian parsley (aka flat leaf parsley) a try. It’s much less bitter than the curly kind.
I love to use it as a salad green, like in a quinoa tabbouleh, and to stir it into soups and stews just as I’m about to serve them.
I also sometimes put some parsley into banana ice cream.
Kale still comes out on top in a few areas – lots more vitamin A and omega-3 than parsley.
The point is really that all of them are amazing, and we should eat them all for their own individual superstar qualities.
Next time you get some parsley as a garnish, don’t set it aside! Eat that nutritional powerhouse up…
You may not love it the first time you try it on its own, but eat it with a bite of something yummy and it’ll go down no problem.
Are you motivated to go eat some parsley now?
Let me know what you think in the comments below!