Maybe you consider yourself a foodie, passionate about everything you put on your plate. Or you're the type of person who often finds yourself strolling through the grocery store or farmers market in search of that amazing new ingredient to wake up your taste buds and bring a sense of vitality.
Well, today I'd like to reintroduce you to a long-lost friend who may not be new but certainly deserves a second look as a superfood: gorgeous green parsley.
That's right, this herb is just waiting in the wings, ready to bring a certain freshness to just about any of your favorite dishes. Got soup? Smoothies? Toss in a handful of chopped parsley. Making an omelet, pasta, or rice dish? Lighten things up by showering them with the torn green leaves.
The aroma alone, reminiscent of a lush and fertile garden, gives a big hint at the natural sources of healing phytonutrients, or plant-based nutrition, that parsley contains.
Why Parsley Is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory & Allergy Fighter
As it turns out, new research suggests that parsley, that once-ignored garnish, is really a superstar of the food as medicine concept. This herb is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and lutein and zeaxanthin, known as the macular carotenoids for their key role in protecting eye health. If you spend your day staring at a computer screen these nutrients may be of particular interest, as they've been researched for their potential to help protect the eyes against the glare of a screen.
But that is just the beginning—because parsley also has a special flavonoid called apigenin, which is anti-inflammatory. Plus, according to a report in the Global Journal of Allergy, it also has anti-allergic capability.
In a 2014 study, researchers at the University of Verona explained that the limitations of allergy medications and the rising tide of allergies from pollution and other factors has propelled scientists to look for the allergy-fighting potential in natural substances. "Recent evidence has brought to the spotlight plant-derived polyphenols as a promising tool to prevent allergy," the researchers wrote. "Polyphenols, such as flavonoids, are the best studied natural substances known to possess an anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic potential." And eating parsley enhances adiponectin, a naturally occurring hormone that has potential anti-allergic effects.
How to Enjoy Parsley & Grow Your Own Healing Plant
Shopping for parsley is like buying a bouquet of fresh-cut roses: Freshness is key. The leaves should be bright green, the stems firm, nothing wilted. At home, take them out of the plastic bag so they can breathe a little. When you are ready to enjoy, first give them a good wash in warm water.
Or, indulge your budding green thumb and grow your own. Right about now would be a great time to start thinking about growing your own parsley in pots on your patio or right in your kitchen.
Purchase a tiny plant from your favorite nursery and some organic top soil, as well as a clay pot. Place a few pebbles in the bottom of the pot, to help drainage, fill with soil, and gently tuck your baby parsley plants into the soil.
Water them from time to time and make sure they get some sun. Pretty soon they'll start growing up, and seeing the lush green leaves will remind you to snip a few leaves to use in your kitchen creations. If you get two or three plants, you can enjoy fresh grown parsley all summer long and into autumn.
Parsley is just one of the delicious examples of the food as medicine concept found in my new book The Allergy Solution: Unlock the Surprising, Hidden Truth About Why You Are Sick and How to Get Well, co-authored with my father, Dr. Leo Galland.