Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Health Benefits of Spring Time Herbs : Parsley and Cilantro

Spring is the season of year to pay a slight more attention towards health. Most of the herbs are best picked during the spring. Parsley and Cilantro are the world's most popular and the best herbs of the spring season, which add flavor and color to the food, and also provide some special health benefits. These both herbs are delicious and vibrant in taste and have wonderful healing properties. Though you can found the highly nutritious parsley throughout the year, spring is the best time of the year to get benefits of parsley. Cilantro looks similar to the parsley but has larger and less curled leaves than parsley. Both these herbs have a famous role as a table garnish.

Health Benefits of Spring Time Herbs : Parsley and Cilantro

These beautiful herbs can be enjoyed with numerous ways either by including in a recipe, eating fresh or using it as a garnishing purpose. Fresh herbs have turned into a major food trend because more people look for a natural and organic lifestyle. From thousands of year, parsley has been cultivated and utilized medicinally. Highly nutritious, fresh parsley and cilantro can be found year round at the local supermarket, the natural food store and the farmers market. These herbs are sweet and strongly aromatic, having a slight taste of orange peel.

Health Benefits of Parsley:
Researches have shown many health benefits of the parsley. Some important health benefits of the parsley include:

Add Flavor and Beauty
Parsley and Cilantro are fresh herbs that play an important role on restaurant menus in Asian, Italian and Latin cuisine. Fresh herbs let you to maximize both flavor and nutrition. The results of the researches done on fresh herbs are very exhilarating. Parsley and cilantro are an excellent source of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients named carotenoids and polyphenols. Science is discovering the notable health benefits of these herbs. It is a very good idea to fight against inflammation with the nutrition as anti-inflammatory medicines have many side effects.

Rich Source of Anti-Oxidants
Parsley is an excellent source of antioxidants and its capacity to increase the levels of antioxidant enzymes outstrips almost all other vegetables. Parsley contains flavonoids, luteolin that mix with highly reactive oxygen-containing molecules (named oxygen radicals) and help to prevent oxygen-based damage to cells. Parsley and Cilantro also contain vitamin C and vitamin A.

Provides Protection against Rheumatoid Arthritis
As parsley is a rich source of vitamin C, it provides protection against inflammatory rheumatoid polyarthritis which involves two or more joints. Studies have suggested that people who consume the lowest amounts of vitamin C-rich foods are three times more likely to develop arthritis than those who take such foods in the highest amounts.

Helps to Maintain Healthy Heart
Parsley contains folic acid in good amount which plays most critical role to maintain cardiovascular health. High levels of homocysteine are related with a considerably raised risk of heart attack and stroke in people with diabetic heart disease or atherosclerosis. Enjoying foods high in folic acid helps to reduce the levels of homocysteine and thus maintains a healthy heart.

Health benefits of Parsley are attributed to its:
  • High carotenoids content; contains approximately twice the carotenoid content of carrots.
  • Apigenin, the major volatile oil component of Parsley, which is part of the group of compounds named flavonoids.
  • Good amount of vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K.
  • Iron and folate content.
  • Other flavonoids like apiin, crisoeriol, and luteolin.

Cilantro’s health benefits are widespread and researches are discovering more every day. Along with adding flavor and beauty, several well-known benefits of cilantro include:

  • Increases HDL cholesterol (the good one), and reduces the level of bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol)
  • Helps to stimulate insulin secretion and thus reduces high blood sugar
  • Provides protection against bacterial infection from Salmonella in food products
  • Helps to decrease feelings of nausea
  • Acts as an overall digestive aid; provides relief from stomach gas and helps to prevent flatulence
  • Helps to promote healthy liver function
  • Helpful in fighting anemia as it is good source of iron and magnesium
  • Great immune-boosting properties
  • Provides relief for diarrhea, particularly if caused by fungal or microbial infections
  • Powerful anti-inflammatory agent that may help to ease symptoms of arthritis
  • Acts as a natural anti-fungal and anti-septic agent for skin disorders such as fungal infections and eczema
  • Helps to ease conjunctivitis, macular degeneration, and eye-aging

A recent study from the University of California, Los Angeles, suggested that the dried form of the herb usually had less antioxidant capacity compared to fresh herbs; however there was still considerable antioxidant capacity in the dried herbs.

How to Enjoy Fresh Herbs?

Using fresh herbs is a great way but they should be rinsed right before using as it is highly fragile. First of all simply tear off some leaves of parsley or cilantro and put them in a bowl of cold water. To clean the herbs and remove any sand or dirt, swish the herbs around in water with your hands. Wash the herbs well and then dehydrated them with a paper towel.

For garnishing purpose, fresh parsley or cilantro should be added at the end of the cooking process for retaining its color, taste and nutritional value. Garnishing with these fresh herbs adds a rapid and easy splatter of freshness and color to dishes. Simply break the leaves of parsley or cilantro into pieces, then sprinkle them over favorite dishes like soups, omelets, pizzas, salads, pastas and your liked one.

The herb parsley is specially used while making French and Italian dishes. Cilantro is perfect herb for Latin favorites like salsa or chili. Cilantro also combines well with Asian dishes. If you want to create a light colored sauce, then utilize the stems from this variety opposed to the leaves, so the resultant sauce will take on the flavor of the herbs but will not take its green color.

So, next time when the herbs parsley or cilantro appears on your dish as a garnish, identify its true value and partake of its abilities for improving your health.

Parsley (Health Benefits) video from Youtube:


I recently began making rather large salads, consisting mainly of parsley and cilantro. Are there any warnings in regard to the ingestion of large quantities of raw parsley and cilantro?

NO my dear friends parsley and cilantro will not damage your body.

I take a blood thinner!! Is eating parsley in a cheese ball making my INR change from good to high ?Is it a part of the vitamin k group?

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