Parsley is a highly nutritious herb to consider adding to your daily diet and growing in an herb garden. It is rich in vitamin C, folate, carotenoids (vitamin A) and several antioxidants. Parsley is frequently used as a garnish but not consumed as part of the meal. Many times, that sprig of parsley can have more nutrients than the highly processed meal it decorates.
Few people know the real reason that a sprig of parsley is served or chopped parsley is used in a recipe. Parsley has more glutathione (an antioxidant), which aids in digestion, than any other food. The Romans were the first to discover its nutritional benefits. They made garlands of parsley for banquet guests to discourage intoxication and counter strong breath odor.
To retain the nutrition benefit of parsley, add it just before serving.
There are several other ways to use parsley as well.
Consider adding chopped parsley to cold salads such as tabbouleh or tuna with the oil or dressing. Another option: Fines herbs — parsley, tarragon, chevil (one sprig of each) — can be chopped fine, refrigerated in a covered bowl and used daily in omelets and soup.
Green drinks and smoothies are another natural for parsley, yet it is seldom included in recipes. The accompanying smoothie recipe is a tasty and healthful way to add parsley to your diet.
To better manage blood glucose when juicing or blending a smoothie, use a ratio of two vegetables and one fruit. Select only organic fruits and vegetables, and add one sprig of parsley per 4 ounces.
Betty Wedman-St Louis is a licensed nutritionist and environmental health specialist in Pinellas County who has written numerous books on health and nutrition. Visit her website at betty-wedman-stlouis.com.