Parsley

Parsley is a popular and beloved green leafy vegetable. It is grown almost everywhere, as it is very unpretentious to the soil and climate.

The name of the plant comes from the ancient Greek word “petros”, which means “stone”. The plant received this name due to the fact that its wild ancestor grows in an area with rocky soil - in southern Greece.

Common leaf parsley and curly parsley are cultivated for culinary purposes. At the same time, the curly type of greens has a richer chemical composition and a pronounced taste than its smooth-leaved relative. To obtain root crops, parsley of other varieties is grown - Bordovician, sugar.

Chemical composition

Parsley is a unique plant. Its leaves and roots are sources of vitamins and minerals, also contain proteins, fats and carbohydrates, essential oils, chlorophyll and organic acids.

The leaves of this vegetable contain about 4% protein, up to 8% carbohydrates, 0.6% fat, 85% water. Calorie content of the leaves of this vegetable is 46-53 kcal per 100 g.

Fresh parsley roots are less rich in protein than leaves (up to 1.5%), but contain more carbohydrates (up to 10%). The water content in fresh roots is up to 83%, and their calorie content is up to 50 kcal per 100 g.

Parsley proteins are complete because they contain all the essential amino acids that are not produced in the human body, but required for the synthesis of its own protein molecules.

There are few fats in the leaves and roots of the vegetable, therefore, despite the fact that 75% of fatty acids are unsaturated ( omega-3 and omega -6 ), they do not have a special effect on the human body when using parsley. The composition of these fats also includes phytosterols in small amounts - up to 5 mg per 100 g of greens, which is 9% of the daily requirement of the human body for them.

Carbohydrates of this leafy vegetable are represented mainly by polysaccharides - pectin and fiber. Parsley contains starch, sucrose, fructose and glucose in smaller amounts. Parsley leaves contain the important polysaccharide inulin, which has an insulin-like effect.

Vitamin composition
Name Content in 100 g leaves, milligrams
Provitamin A (carotene) 0.01
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) 0.08
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 0.1
Vitamin B4 (choline) 12.8
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) 0.4
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) 0.6
Vitamin B9 (folic acid) 0.08-0.15
Vitamin PP (nicotinic acid) 1.3
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid ota) 35.0
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.75
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 1.64

in it, therefore, to replenish the reserves of this vitamin in the body, it is enough to eat only 15-20 g of parsley per day.

The leaves of this vegetable contain a lot of ascorbic acid: more than 450% of the daily requirement. A large amount of folic acid is also a good reason to include these greens in your daily diet. In terms of the amount of provitamin A and carotenoids, this vegetable ranks fifth among all plant foods, second only to carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and pumpkin.

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Minerals
Name Content in 100 g leaves, milligrams
Potassium 342.0-754.0
Calcium 87.0-328.0
Phosphorus 58.0-99.0
Sodium 38.0-136.0
Magnesium 28.0-85.0
Silicon 15.0
Iron 6.2-12.8
Zinc 1.1
Manganese 0.9-5.3
Copper 0.09-0.15
Boron 0.075
Nickel 0.01-0.12
Chromium 0.006-0.01
Iodine 0.004-0.047
Cobalt 0.004

The most significant mineral substances contained in parsley in significant concentrations are manganese (more than 150% of the daily norm in 100 g), boron (more than 100%), iron (50%), calcium and iodine (20% each).

In addition to the main nutrients, vitamins and minerals, the leaves of this vegetable also contain:

  • essential oils (eugenol, limonene, myristicin, alpha thujone);
  • coumarins (psoralen);
  • complex organic compounds (chlorophyll);
  • organic acids ( oxalic );
  • purine bases.

These substances have no less effect on the human body than its main components.

Useful properties

Parsley has many useful properties for the life of the human body, while its leaves are a more valuable source of vitamins and minerals than roots.

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Digestive

Healthy leaf vegetable:

  • freshens breath;
  • strengthens the gums;
  • causes appetite;
  • stimulates the production of digestive juices;
  • has a wound healing effect;
  • restores liver cells;
  • has a choleretic effect;
  • accelerates peristalsis;
  • has a carminative effect.

For the heart and blood vessels

A large amount of potassium in this vegetable helps to normalize myocardial contractility and conduct nerve impulses through the conduction system of the heart.

The B vitamins of the vegetable reduce the content of homocysteine ​​in the blood by stimulating its conversion to methionine. Homocysteine ​​injures the inner surface of the arterial wall, resulting in an increased risk of atherosclerotic thrombi.

For hematopoiesis and immune system

Balanced vitamin and mineral composition of parsley:

  • replenishes reserves of iron and folic acid in the body;
  • improves blood clotting;
  • improves immunity;
  • inhibits hyperproduction of immunoreactive cells.

Chlorophyll, which is found in large quantities in parsley leaves, is actively involved in the formation of hemoglobin in human blood, helping to improve the oxygenation of body tissues.

For endocrine organs and metabolism

Both leaves and roots of parsley when consumed internally:

  • normalize metabolism;
  • reduce blood glucose;
  • improve adrenal function;
  • increase the production of thyroid hormones.

The presence of inulin and fiber polysaccharides promotes the binding of cholesterol and glucose in the blood, which improves the condition of blood vessels in patients with diabetes mellitus and atherosclerosis.

For bones and joints

Due to the content of eugenol ester in the leaves of the vegetable, which has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects, parsley helps with inflammation of the joints.

For vision

The high content of “eye” vitamin A ensures the effectiveness of parsley remedies for eye diseases of various origins. This green curly vegetable improves blood supply to the tissues and structures of the eyes, helps to restore damaged corneal cells and increases the synthesis of rhodopsin, a visual pigment.

Parsley has an anti-inflammatory and diuretic effect on the urinary system, and exhibits an antimicrobial effect. It is believed that the regular use of the leaves of this vegetable in food helps to increase potency in men. In the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract (nose, sinuses, larynx), vegetable chemical compounds reduce local allergic reactions and relieve local swelling. The intake of diluted parsley juice inside shows a pronounced antispasmodic effect.

Possible harm

Parsley raw materials are harmful due to the high content of oxalic acid in it, which is strictly prohibited for people suffering from gout or urolithiasis against the background of oxaluria (elevated level salts of oxalic acid in the urine).

Acute pathologies of the urinary system (pyelonephritis, cystitis, urethritis) are also a contraindication to the use of this spicy vegetable.

Like all root vegetables and leafy green vegetables, parsley is capable of excessive accumulation of nitrates in its greens and roots. Therefore, parsley grown under conditions of active soil fertilization with nitrogen-containing fertilizers or manure can cause nitrate poisoning.

With caution and only after consulting a gynecologist, parsley should be consumed during pregnancy. The essential oils of the vegetable are easily passed into breast milk, and they are not useful for babies. Therefore, the use of greens and parsley roots during breastfeeding is prohibited.

People with photodermatitis should not lean on parsley. The coumarin psoralen contained in it accumulates in the skin cells, after which it can cause sunburn.

Use in medicine

The wide range of beneficial properties of parsley allows it to be used in non-traditional treatment of various diseases:

  • digestive system (gingivitis, periodontal disease, heartburn, gastritis with high acidity, peptic ulcer, liver and pancreas disorders, chronic constipation);
  • circulatory system (atherosclerosis, arterial hypertension, arrhythmias);
  • endocrine organs (diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, adrenal insufficiency);
  • blood and immunity (anemia, thrombocytopenia, immunodeficiency states, allergies);
  • skin (acne, acne, psoriasis, eczema, trophic ulcers, fungal infections, hyperpigmentation);
  • eyes (ophthalmopathies, cataracts, macular degeneration, keratomalacia);
  • musculoskeletal system (rheumatism, arthritis, arthrosis).

Parsley-based products are used to whiten teeth, strengthen gums, and eliminate bad breath. Parsley fiber helps cleanse the intestines of toxins and toxic substances.

Due to the large amount of minerals and vitamins, the vegetable has a calming effect on the nervous system and increases appetite, therefore it is often used in the complex treatment of anorexia and depression.

The antispasmodic properties of parsley are used for painful menstrual bleeding and intestinal colic. Parsley has a positive effect on the condition of the prostate gland in men with prostatitis and prostate adenomas.

Externally, vegetable preparations are used for insect bites, bruises, abrasions, abscesses.

For medicinal purposes, parsley is taken internally as:

  • fresh or dried spicy food supplement;
  • green juice;
  • decoction;
  • infusion;
  • alcohol tincture.

Pure parsley juice is prohibited. It contains many bioactive compounds that can cause severe irritation of the gastric mucosa or provoke an attack of peptic ulcer.

Use in cosmetology

Parsley is often used in cosmetology. It whitens the skin well, reduces the severity of pigmentation, and has an anti-inflammatory property. The rich vitamin composition of vegetable leaves stimulates the restoration of damaged epidermal cells and promotes the synthesis of connective tissue fibers - elastin, collagen. External use of products based on raw parsley has a rejuvenating effect.

Parsley is useful for any type of skin, but it has the most visible effect on dry and aging or problematic skin. Regular application of masks with parsley juice helps to get rid of freckles and age spots. Washing twice a day with a decoction of its leaves helps to reduce acne, redness and irritation on the skin.

How to choose and store

To buy a quality green vegetable, you need to evaluate its freshness. A bunch of fresh leaves should be juicy green in color, have elastic stems. The roots should be dense, elastic, without wormholes and cuts.

To keep all the nutrients in the purchased greens, you need to:

  1. Put in cool water (like flowers). At the same time, the shelf life of such greens will last up to 2-3 days.
  2. Store in the freshness area of ​​the refrigerator (in a tightly sealed plastic bag). The shelf life will increase to 7-8 days.
  3. Store in the freezer. This method of storage prolongs the “life” of parsley up to several months.

Before freezing parsley leaves, they should be washed under running water (preferably with a shower head) and then dried thoroughly.

Leaves of this vegetable can be stored dried. To do this, rinse the purchased or collected greens under running water and dry. For drying, it is necessary to tear the parsley leaves from the stems or cut them together with the stems. Dry the greens in a shaded place with a layer no thicker than 1 cm, regularly mixing the drying. It is impossible to speed up the drying process: it may lose its color. Store dried herbs in clean glass jars with lids for a year.

Use in cooking

Parsley is used in the cuisines of almost all countries of the world. The spicy taste of the leaves of this vegetable goes well with:

  • pasta (noodles, macaroni, spaghetti, pasta);
  • savory pastries (pies, pizza);
  • vegetables;
  • rice ;
  • mushrooms;
  • meat dishes;
  • fish;
  • first courses;
  • sauces on different bases (tomato, sour cream, bouillon).

It is added to dishes most often fresh, less often dried or frozen. Unique is the fact that most of the substances contained in parsley do not lose their beneficial properties during heat treatment.

Conclusions

Parsley is not only an aromatic seasoning for any (except sweet) dish. This is a useful leafy vegetable that can be used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes. Parsley leaves and roots are used in the treatment of pathologies of the cardiovascular and digestive systems, endocrine organs, nervous system, eyes, and skin.

Before using parsley as a remedy, you should consult a doctor, because the active substances in this vegetable can provoke an exacerbation of gastritis or an attack of gout.

It has anti-aging and whitening properties, so it is often used in the preparation of products for problematic and aging skin. In cosmetology, parsley is used to prepare masks, tonics, creams that nourish and moisturize the skin, relieve inflammation.

This leafy vegetable is also popular in cooking: as a green seasoning for salads, appetizers, second and first courses, and savory pastries. Beautiful curly parsley leaves decorate dishes on the festive table. Parsley is easy to harvest for the winter and store frozen or dried.