4 health benefits of parsley and recipes with parsley, from a doctor

When you think of the term ‘superfood,’ you might think of berries and dark, leafy greens (think kale, collard greens, and spinach). But if you skip herbs like parsley, perhaps thinking they’re just a garnish or even expendable in recipes, you’ll be missing out on some *important* benefits for your brain, mental health, energy, and longevity.

Here’s why Uma Naidoo, MD, Harvard-trained nutritional psychiatrist, professional chef, nutritional biologist, and author of the national and international bestseller, This is your brain on food“I can’t recommend parsley highly enough. Plus: Some vetted recipes that will boost your intake of this nutritional powerhouse.

Parsley Key Nutrients and Benefits

1. luteolin

For starters, Dr. Naidoo mentions luteolin as a star antioxidant found in parsley, which works wonders for fighting brain fog, mental health imbalances, and more. “Parsley is an excellent source of luteolin, a flavonoid that helps reduce inflammation and the damaging effects of oxidative stress,” he says. “This is especially important for brain health, as reduced inflammation is associated with fewer symptoms of stress and anxiety, as well as a lower risk of cognitive decline or neurodegenerative disease with age.”

2. Folate

Like other vegetables, parsley is also rich in folic acid (also known as vitamin B9). “Folate is one of my key nutrients for mental health, as it aids in the synthesis of neurotransmitters and supports the integrity of myelin, the fatty material that protects neurons and promotes rapid transmission,” says Dr. Naidoo. She goes on to say that folate deficiencies are associated with symptoms of both depression and brain fog, and that folate may even help stave off Alzheimer’s, so its importance in your diet for maintaining your mental and mental health cannot be underestimated. cognition in tip-top shape. (For reference, the RDA for folate is 400 mcg for adults, although the recommendation goes up to 600 mcg during pregnancy and 500 mcg during lactation.)

3. Fiber

Dr. Naidoo shares that this leafy green herb offers fiber, “which feeds the good bacteria in the gut for a healthier microbiome and reduced inflammation.” Once again, inflammation wreaks havoc not only on the brain, mind, and mood, but on health and wellness across the board. “Reducing inflammation is essential for improving physical health and reducing the risk of a host of other chronic diseases, ranging from asthma to heart disease, arthritis, and even cancer,” says Dr. Naidoo.

4. Additional Nutrients in Parsley

While Dr. Naidoo takes care to highlight some of the key nutrients in parsley above, there are many others that are included in this herb. “Parsley also contains several antioxidants such as apiol, limonene, and eugenol; flavonoids such as apigenin and quercetin glycosides; carotenoids, ascorbic acid, tocopherol, tannins, sterols, vitamins A, C and K, potassium, calcium and magnesium”, he adds. Speaking of small and mighty!

“As a source of key micronutrients for neurological health, parsley can help improve mental fitness, brain health, energy levels, and overall cognition,” says Dr. Naidoo. In short, you’ll be doing your brain and body a favor by picking up this versatile herb at your local farmer’s market or during your next grocery shopping, or even growing it in your own garden. From there, get creative by whipping up some of the recipes below in which parsley takes center stage.

But first, some parsley prep FYI

If you’re short on time, follow Dr. Naidoo’s advice and add it to your favorite salad “for a delicious, bright flavor, or add it as a fresh side dish to count on the number of different colors and vegetables that add biodiversity to the gut health.” You could also mix it into your smoothies if you have something else on hand as well.

And while Dr. Naidoo prefers parsley in its fresh, natural state, she says dried parsley “still provides brain-healthy antioxidants and amazing flavor to food,” so you’ll want to keep a jar stocked in your pantry, too. . With that, she offers an important tip from the chef: “Use half the amount of dried parsley compared to fresh parsley in recipes, as the dried herb is more concentrated.”

All things considered, you really can’t go wrong with this high-yielding weed.

3 Parsley Recipes for Brain Boosting and Mental Health Benefits

1. Parsley pesto

health benefits of parsley
Photo: The Last Food Blog

One of the easiest ways to get more parsley into your diet is to make a sauce out of an old bunch, a la parsley pesto recipe from The Last Food Blog. The recipe developer suggests opting for flat-leaf (rather than curly) parsley for a stronger flavor profile, as well as toasting the pine nuts beforehand to add a warm, toasty flavor. Add some Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, EVOO, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and voilà – you have a delicious and nutritious spread to mix with pasta, put over eggs or spread on toast.

Get the recipe: Parsley Pesto

2. Green chimichurri

health benefits of parsley
Photo: The forked spoon

Hailing from Argentina and Uruguay, chimichurri is a delicious marinade sauce typically made with fresh chopped parsley, garlic, red wine vinegar, oregano, and olive oil. This chimichurri recipe from The Forked Spoon aims to stay as close to its cultural roots as possible, and also includes red chili (fresh or flaked) for a little extra heat, though it’s totally optional if you have a mild palate. “You can use this marinade on top of your favorite grass-fed steak, grilled tofu, or my favorite: a cauliflower steak,” shares Dr. Naidoo.

Get the recipe: Green Chimichurri

3. tabbouleh

health benefits of parsley
Photo: Cookie and Kate

Parsley is the main leaf in tabbouleh (also known as tabbouleh), a Middle Eastern salad made with a base of bulgur wheat plus cucumbers, tomatoes, lemon juice, and olive oil. In this tabbouleh recipe from Cookie and Kate, she recommends going for curly parsley for extra volume and also includes mint, green onion, and garlic as optional toppings.

Get the recipe: Tabbouleh

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