Parsley is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as a good source of iron and folate. If eaten in quantities appropriate for a vegetable rather than a spice, it can provide calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, beta-carotene, and lutein. Parsley will also cleanse both your palate and your breath after a meal! Parsley contains some interesting chemical compounds that warrant further study: volatile oils, including myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene, and antioxidant flavonoids, including apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin. The volatile oils have shown potential to prevent the formation of cancerous tumors and may have positive effects on mood and cognition. Parsley has also shown potential for reducing inflammation in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
These complex chemicals have not yet been fully studied, and some are known to have toxic effects when taken in large doses. For example, parsley also contains apiol, a substance that appears to affect the female hormonal system and was at one time used to induce miscarriage of unwanted pregnancies. For this reason, pregnant women should not use parsley seeds or essential oil of parsley in medicinal quantities.
Parsley also contains measurable amounts of oxalates, so over-consumption can cause problems for those with kidney disease, gout, vulvar pain, rheumatoid arthritis, or other conditions that may require a low-oxalate diet.Nutritional Facts
One-half cup of chopped fresh parsley provides 11 calories, 1.9 g carbohydrate, 0.9 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 1 g dietary fiber, 1560 IU vitamin A, 40 mg vitamin C, 46 mcg folic acid, 166 mg potassium, 17 mg sodium, 17 mg phosphorus, 41 mg calcium, 1.86 mg iron, and 15 mg magnesium.