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10 Powerful Health Benefits of Parsley You Never Knew About

We tend to think of parsley as a garnish, and don't give it much thought. But this herb does much more than make your plate look pretty. Here are 10 unexpected health benefits of parsley.

Parsley garnish green smoothie tanjichica/Shutterstock

Breast cancer protection

Living a lifestyle that reduces your cancer risk is wise—here are habits that prevent breast cancer. Parsley may have specific protective benefits against breast cancer. According to a 2017 study in the journal Geroscience, apigenin, a natural substance in parsley shows promise as a non-toxic treatment for human breast cancer.

Parsley in wooden spoonSOMMAI/Shutterstock

Fights inflammation

It’s one of the more troubling general symptoms—inflammation can actually be deadly. Parsley helps because it’s high in antioxidants like vitamin C, A, and E, which can help soothe inflammation. “This can help reduce the risk of arthritis, an inflammation of the joints,” says Brunilda Nazario, MD. “It is also an excellent source of flavonoids, antioxidants that help reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, including cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.”

Fish topped with parsleyHendra Xu/Shutterstock

Makes grilling safer

“Consume parsley with your char-grilled chicken, fish, and steak to help minimize the cancer-causing effects of heterocyclic amines,” says Amanda Capriglione, RD, CDN. “Heterocyclic amines are made when proteins are cooked at high temperatures.” She suggests making a chimichurri sauce by blending parsley, fresh garlic, salt, pepper, some apple cider or red wine vinegar and olive oil together and adding to cooked meats. Check out these seven other tips for healthier grilling.

Parsley on wooden cutting boardnito/Shutterstock

Prevents lines and wrinkles

Eating parsley benefits your complexion. The herb is high in vitamin C, and vitamin C makes collagen, which gives skin its structure and strength. “Collagen helps to iron out fine lines and wrinkles,” says Capriglione. “Make a vitamin C-packed salad with some greens (including parsley), orange pieces, and finish with a lemony vinaigrette.” Here are the best foods for younger skin.

A bunch of parsley tied with ropeAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Strengthens bones

“Ten sprigs of parsley is enough to reach your daily dose of vitamin K,” says Capriglione. Getting an adequate amount of vitamin K in your diet may help protect against bone fractures, as it helps make the protein for bones and blood clotting. Here are 30 simple things you can do to build your bones.

soup garnished with parsleympessaris/Shutterstock

Helps with digestion

Settle your stomach with the help of this soothing herb. “It can help aid in digestion and help reduce bloating,” says Capriglione. “It contains compounds that enable the expulsion of gas from the body.” Add some flat leaf parsley into your dinner before a big night out. If you have tummy troubles, avoid these foods that are bad for digestive health.

Parsley, lemon, onion on cutting boardEkaterina Kondratova/Shutterstock

Freshens breath

Eating parsley can help you freshen your breath and mask any bad odors. “Parsley acts as a natural breath freshener, especially after consuming garlic or onion,” says Capriglione. Here’s what your bad breath is trying to tell you.

Parsley in white bowlThanthima Lim/Shutterstock

Helps with bladder infections

Suffer from UTIs? Consider adding some parsley into your diet. “Homeopathic practitioners use this to treat urinary tract infections and kidney and bladder stones,” says Nazario. “It contains chemicals that cause muscle contraction in the intestine, bladder, and uterus. Hence, indigestion, UTIs, and menstrual cramps were often treated with concoctions of this herb.” Here are 10 more home remedies you can try for UTIs.

Closeup of fresh parsleyStephen Orsillo/Shutterstock

Fights off heart disease

Raw parsley contains folate, an important B vitamin, making it a candidate for preventing heart troubles, like these 15 other heart-saving tips. “Folate is involved in maintaining normal levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which is important given that elevated levels are associated with cardiovascular diseases,” says Carolina Guizar, RDN. “Like vitamin C, folate is heat sensitive and is best retained when consumed in fresh parsley.”

closeup of hand, knife, parsley, olive oilCatherine Murray/Shutterstock

Protects your eyes

“Parsley is a source of plant-based vitamin A,” says Guizar. “Adequate vitamin A intake ensures the optimal health of our eyes, preventing dryness, night blindness, and cataracts.” Here are some other tips for healthier eyes.

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Medically reviewed by Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, on August 15, 2019