(WellnessNova.com) - Don’t push that parsley aside, use it to make parsley tea. Drink this “wonder tea” to relieve bloating caused by water retention or digestive issues. It can also be used to jump start menstruation if you have irregular periods. Parsley is also loaded with vitamins and unique oil compounds that have fantastic health benefits.
Parsley tea is the best way to get these benefits because all the nutrients of a cup of parsley (more than you would ever eat by itself) are carried to the problem area at the speed of water. It is easy to brew, and fresh parsley is available at almost any grocery store.
Here are some health benefits parsley has to offer:
1. Relief From Bloating
Water retention is a common culprit that leads to the feeling or look of bloating. Women sometimes experience bloating during their menstrual cycle due to hormone fluctuations. Excess salt intake is the other usual suspect when your pants are tight in the waist. Nearly everyone experiences bloat after a high-sodium meal. If you are not used to eating a lot of salt, you might notice your rings are hard to pull off the day after you eat at a restaurant.
Parsley is a natural diuretic, which means that more liquid is drawn out from you body to be excreted when you pee. Diuretics prevent sodium from re-entering the bloodstream. Without sodium, water has nothing to hold on to and it is flushed from your system. Diuretics are also available in pills from the drugstore, but natural remedies are always better for your body.
Diuretics only provide temporary relief from bloating, you must change your habits to keep the bloat from coming back. Eat a diet low in sodium and drink plenty of water to keep excess water weight at bay. Pre-period bloating from hormones can be inescapable, but you can keep it to a minimum by avoiding salty foods altogether, exercising regularly, and drinking parsley tea.
Bloating can also result from excess gas in your digestive system. Parley is part of a family of herbs called carminatives, this means that it prevents gas from forming in the intestines. If you plan on eating a meal that contains a gassy food (ie: beans, broccoli, corn, etc), drink a glass of parsley tea before you eat to cut down on the amount of gas produced.
If you missed the opportunity to attack the gas before it starts, never fear because parsley also aids in the release of gas, contributing to relief from bloating. It is high in enzymes so it helps keep things moving to help you get rid of that full or sluggish feeling. Be warned that the use of parsley tea to relieve digestive gas results in flatulence, so you might want to steer clear of others for awhile.
2. Aids Menstruation
Parsley is known in the world of herbal medicine as an emmenagogue, which means that it can start your period. The herb causes uterine contractions which may stimulate your period to begin. You may be wondering why you want your period to begin? Women who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome may experience delayed or missed periods as a result. Stress, excessive exercise, and several other situations can stop or delay periods.
Irregular periods can be annoying, stressful, and can leave you feeling anxious every day that your regularly scheduled time-of-the-month does not show up. Drink parsley tea when you expect your period to begin. It should start within a day or two, and you will be back in control of your body. If it does not begin menses, it may be a sign of a more serious condition or pregnancy.
If you suspect you may be pregnant, do not drink parsley tea and try to avoid eating large amounts. Parsley tea has been considered an abortifacient. There is not sufficient evidence to back up this claim, but you should use parsley sparingly if you suspect pregnancy.
Throughout history, women have used parsley tea after giving birth to contract the uterus and return it to its prior position. The uterus shrinks back naturally, but can take up to 8 weeks.
3. Helps With Bladder and Kidney Problems
Parsley tea is an effective treatment for urinary tract infections. The common herb contains an essential oil called apiol the works as an antiseptic in the urinary tract. Plus, since parsley is a diuretic, it helps to flush out the bacteria that are causing the pain. When urinary tract infections go untreated, they can spread to the bladder and kidneys. Parsley tea can treat all parts of the urinary system.
The nutrients in parsley can also help to dissolve most kidney stones. Vitamins B6, C, and the minerals magnesium, and potassium help to dissolve stones. If your body forms kidney stones from oxalate, you should cut down on foods that are rich in oxalic acid. Parsley is very high in oxalic acid and may contribute to the problem.
4. Inhibits Tumor Growth
Besides the general healthiness of a fresh leafy green food, it has some special powers. Parsley is considered a chemoprotective food because it works to prevent cancer. The volatile oils in parsley neutralize carcinogens (things that cause cancer) like those in cigarette smoke. The oils in parsley also bind to the “rogue” cells that can start cancer tumors and removes them from your body before they can affect healthy cells. This is not to say parsley or parsley tea acts like a “vaccine” against cancer, but preventive measures may lower your chances of forming a cancer tumor.
Eating large enough amounts of parsley to get these benefits may be near impossible. That is why parsley tea is a wonderful option for extracting all the health benefits of parsley into a manageable amount.
Another way parsley tea can protect against cancer is by working as an antioxidant. Damaged or abnormal cells can lead to cancerous tumors; these cells begin dividing and copying themselves with fervor. Normally, cells naturally age and are replaced by new fresh cells, but sometimes the old cells hang around and cause problems. Antioxidants help “cleanse” the body of damaged and old cells.
Free radicals are broken parts of cells that are “angry,” they are missing parts and they want to steal these parts from healthy cells. Of course, this is a very simplified explanation of free radicals. Antioxidants bind to the free radicals so that they leave the healthy cells alone. Add some chopped parsley to your salad or soup to help your body fight against environmental damage and age.
Vitamins and Micronutrients
Parsley has several special benefits, like relief from water weight gain, facilitating digestion, help with menstrual issues, and protection from cancer. It is truly a superfood. In addition to all of its special properties, it is full of letter vitamins and micronutrients that support many other functions in the body. Micronutrients are nutrients that our bodies only require in small amounts, but are vital in human growth and development.
Here are a few of parsley’s key nutrients:
Folate (Folic Acid)
Parsley is high in folate, a micronutrient that can only be found in a few foods. The man-made form of the B vitamin is called folic acid. Most people have heard that folate is important for pregnancy and here’s why.
Folate protects against birth defects, like spina bifida and brain disorders. These type of birth abnormalities are called neural tube defects or NTDs. The neural tube is formed early in the embryonic development — before some women even know they are pregnant. Women who are considering becoming pregnant and women that could become pregnant should make sure they are getting enough folate or folic acid. Up to 70 percent of NTDs can be prevented with adequate preconception intake of folate or folic acid and there is some evidence that other types of birth defects may be prevented too.
The recommended amount is 400 micrograms for women that could get pregnant. It takes about four cups of parsley to get about 150 micrograms of folate, so you can see why parsley tea is an easier way to enjoy the nutrients in parsley. Folate is also important throughout pregnancy and infancy to help with cell division and growth. You should consult with your doctor or naturopath to find out how much is right for you during pregnancy because your personal health history may be a factor in recommended amounts.
There are several scholarly articles about the link between folate and prevention of certain types of cancer. Scientists believe that folate helps in the early stages of cell division and inhibits the growth of cancerous cells. It is thought to be effective against colorectal and cervical cancers and studies show that it may help to prevent pancreatic cancer. Drink parsley tea and add other foods rich in folate to your diet to help your body fight against these deadly forms of cancer.
Folate also helps mitigate the amino acid homocysteine. Homocysteine levels in your body are caused by a variety of factors: eating meat, smoking, alcohol, obesity, coffee, and ageing. It damages the lining of the heart and arteries contributing to heart disease, strokes, migraines, and several other diseases related to the heart and brain.
If you follow a standard American lifestyle, this amino acid is inescapable. Fortunately, folate can help reduce homocysteine levels. It does not reverse damage already caused to your heart and arteries, but it can work to prevent future damage. Naturally occurring folate is substantially more effective than man-made folic acid in reducing homocysteine. Fortified foods and supplements just can’t give you the same benefits as leafy green vegetables like parsley.
Vitamins A, C, and K
Parsley is an excellent source of vitamins K and C and it is also a good source of vitamin A. Vitamins K and A are fat-soluble vitamins so they should be consumed with a little bit of butter or olive oil so that they can be used effectively in your body. Vitamin C is water-soluble, which means it dissolves in water which is plentiful in your body.
Vitamin A keeps your eyes and skin healthy. It also works as an antioxidant to combat damage from free radicals. Vitamin C also works as an antioxidant. It is thought to be helpful against colds, but that has been proven untrue. It does work together to strengthen muscles and bones and connective tissues in your body. These vitamins work together to help keep your body in tip top shape.
How to Make Parsley Tea
To make parsley tea, pour a cup of boiling water over a quarter cup of chopped up parsley. Let it steep for about 10 minutes. Pour it into a mug through a strainer. Enjoy!
Many people find the flavor challenging. Add some honey to sweeten it or fresh lemon juice to help the flavor. You can drink it hot or cold.
Consult with your doctor or naturopath to determine how much parsley tea you should drink for your condition. If you’re cleared to drink parsley tea, you can start enjoying its holistic benefits with your very first cup!