Sunday, June 13, 2010
Herbs-Fresh and Aromatic=Parsley
Who doesn't love potatoes? Add parsley and your palette will thank you.
•3 large Russet potatoes, unpeeled
•3 tablespoons olive oil
•1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
•1 teaspoon cumin
•1 1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
•3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
•1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
Boil potatoes with skins on until soft and can be penetrated with a fork. Drain from water and allow to cool for 20 minutes.
Peel skin from potatoes and discard. Cut into 1 inch cubes. Set aside.
Heat oil to medium heat in a large skillet. Add onions and allow to saute on medium heat for about 2 minutes, just until onions begin to soften. Add potatoes and gently mix together.
Add cumin, parsley, and lemon juice. Mix well and allow to cook on low heat, covered, for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.
Parsley is easy to grow and so under-estimated for it's health benefits.
We often see it used on the side of a plate as a garnish...when in truth it can easily be the most nutritious item on the menu.
Parsley derives its name from a Greek word meaning "rock celery."
Promote Optimal Health
Parsley's volatile oils-particularly myristicin-have been shown to inhibit tumor formation in animal studies, and particularly, tumor formation in the lungs. Myristicin has also been shown to activate the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, which helps attach the molecule glutathione to oxidized molecules that would otherwise do damage in the 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).
A Rich Source of Anti-Oxidant Nutrients
The flavonoids in parsley-especially luteolin-have been shown to function as antioxidants that combine with highly reactive oxygen-containing molecules (called oxygen radicals) and help prevent oxygen-based damage to cells. In addition, extracts from parsley have been used in animal studies to help increase the antioxidant capacity of the 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 through its concentration of the pro-vitamin A carotenoid, beta-carotene).
Vitamin C has many different functions. It is the body's primary water-soluble antioxidant, rendering harmless otherwise dangerous free radicals in all water-soluble areas of the body. High levels of free radicals contribute to the development and progression of a wide variety of diseases, including atherosclerosis, colon cancer, diabetes, and asthma. This may explain why people who consume healthy amounts of vitamin C-containing foods have reduced risks for all these conditions. Vitamin C is also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, which explains its usefulness in conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. And since vitamin C is needed for the healthy function of the immune system, it can also be helpful for preventing recurrent ear infections or colds.
Beta-carotene, another important antioxidant, works in the fat-soluble areas of the body. Diets with beta-carotene-rich foods are also associated with a reduced risk for the development and progression of conditions like atherosclerosis, diabetes, and colon cancer. Like vitamin C, beta-carotene may also be helpful in reducing the severity of asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. And beta-carotene is converted by the body to vitamin A, a nutrient so important to a strong immune system that its nickname is the "anti-infective vitamin."
Parsley For A Healthy Heart~
Parsley is a good source of folic acid, one of the most important B vitamins. While it plays numerous roles in the body, one of its most critical roles in relation to cardiovascular health is its necessary participation in the process through which the body converts homocysteine into benign molecules. Homocysteine is a potentially dangerous molecule that, at high levels, 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. Enjoying foods rich in folic acid, like parsley, is an especially good idea for individuals who either have, or wish to prevent, these diseases. Folic acid is also a critical nutrient for proper cell division and is therefore vitally important for cancer-prevention in two areas of the body that contain rapidly dividing cells-the colon, and in women, the cervix.
Protection Against Rheumatoid Arthritis~
So, next time parsley appears on your plate as a garnish, recognize its true worth and partake of its abilities to improve your health. As an added bonus, you'll also enjoy parsley's legendary ability to cleanse your palate and your breath at the end of your meal.
Dried parsley is just as nutritious as fresh, will last for a year in tightly closed container and kept in a pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.