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Answered 2013-05-03 16:52:37

In a health sense the benefits are from the richness parsley has in Vitamins A B C plus protein minerals iron and calcium. The roots are a richer source of Vitamin C than oranges. It is an antidote to the dreaded garlic breath if chewed and helps digest rich food.

Functional as well as decorative, parsley contains two types of compounds that provide unique health benefits. The first type includes volatile oils, such as myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. The second type includes flavonoids such as apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin. Parsley can:

  • Fight cancer: Parsley's volatile oils, particularly myristicin, can inhibit tumor formation, and particularly, lung tumors. Myristicin can also activate the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, which helps attach the molecule glutathione to oxidized molecules that would otherwise do damage in your body. The activity of parsley's volatile oils qualifies it as a "chemoprotective" food, and in particular, a food that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens (like the benzopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke and charcoal grill smoke).
  • Fight free radicals: The flavonoids in parsley, especially luteolin, function as antioxidants that combine with highly reactive oxygen-containing molecules (called oxygen radicals) and help prevent oxygen-based damage to cells. High levels of free radicals contribute to the development and progression of a wide variety of diseases, including atherosclerosis, colon cancer, Diabetes, and asthma. In addition, extracts from parsley can help increase the antioxidant capacity of blood. In addition to its volatile oils and flavonoids, parsley is an excellent source of two vital nutrients that are also important for the prevention of many diseases: vitamin C and vitamin A (notably via beta-carotene). Vitamin C has many different functions. It is the body's primary water-soluble antioxidant, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, and it promotes a healthy immune system. Beta-carotene is a fat-soluble antioxidant. And beta-carotene is converted by the body to vitamin A, a nutrient vital to a strong immune system.
  • Promote a healthy heart: Parsley is a good source of folate, which is essential to the process through which the body converts homocysteine into benign molecules. Homocysteine can directly damage blood vessels, and high levels of homocysteine are associated with a significantly increased risk of heart attack and stroke in people with atherosclerosis or diabetic Heart disease. Folate is also vitally important for cancer-prevention in areas of the body that contain rapidly dividing cells, including the esophagus, lungs, uterus and cervix, and intestines (especially the colon).
  • Protect against rheumatoid arthritis: Vitamin C-rich foods, such as parsley, provide protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid Arthritis involving two or more joints.

In the garden parsley keeps bugs away from roses and is reputed to improve their scent. Aphids don't appreciate it and it is traditionally grown with tomatoes and asparagus too.

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