At The Ranch, we view food as medicine, including the use of culinary herbs like parsley. Chef Reyna uses parsley to infuse drinking water, make tabouli, salsas, soups, and garnish many dishes like this Quinoa with Parsley and Garlic Dressing. Parsley is high in Vitamin C and multiple antioxidants, including chlorophylls, carotenoids, and flavonoids. In addition to their antioxidant and free radical scavenging activity, flavonoids are also thought to play a significant role in bone health.
Bone is a dynamic structure and, when healthy, is continually remodeling itself. Specialized cells called osteoclasts tear down or resorb old bone, while osteoblasts rebuild it. This process keeps our bones healthy and strong. Even though calcium gets most of the credit, studies have found that women with higher dietary flavonoid intake have better bone mineral density. In fact, there is a whole host of nutrients, including Vitamin D, Vitamin C, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and Omega 3 fatty acids that are also necessary to maintain healthy bone.
To get these nutrients, we need to eat plenty of nutrient-dense foods. Whole, unprocessed foods like vegetables, whole fruit, whole grains, wild fish, legumes, nuts, and seeds contain the most nutrients like flavonoids. Herbs like parsley are highly concentrated in nutrients. Just two tablespoons of parsley contain 10 mg of Vitamin C. That’s more than 10% of the Recommended Daily Intake for women and men.
To get enough flavonoids, we should eat 5-7 servings daily of vegetables and fruit. At The Ranch, you will easily get seven or more servings of vegetables each day. At home, try to include two servings of fruit or vegetables at each meal to meet this goal.
Exercise is another important aspect of bone health. Bone grows in response to demand. So the more weight-bearing exercise we do, the better our bone density. Little or no exercise gives the bones no reason to become stronger. And maintaining healthy bones is not just for women. Men can also lose bone mass due to aging, lack of exercise, inadequate nutrition, smoking, and certain medications.
Lastly, conventionally grown parsley, spinach, and lettuce were consistently found to contain at least three active compounds found in various pesticides. So, it’s important to buy organic parsley or maybe consider growing your own. It is very easy to grow, and growing herbs would be a great way to start your own food as medicine garden.
- Esturk, OYakar, YAyhan Z, Pesticide residue analysis in parsley, lettuce and spinach by LC-MS/MS, Journal of Food Science and Technology, (2014), 51(3)
- Marín I, Sayas-Barberá E, Viuda-Martos M, Navarro C, Sendra E. Chemical Composition, Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Activity of Essential Oils from Organic Fennel, Parsley, and Lavender from Spain. Foods. 2016 Mar 4;5(1):18. doi: 10.3390/foods5010018. PMID: 28231113; PMCID: PMC5224583.
- Hadjidakis DJ, Androulakis II. Bone remodeling. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Dec;1092:385-96. doi: 10.1196/annals.1365.035. PMID: 17308163.
- Haidari, F., Keshavarz, S. A., Mohammad Shahi, M., Mahboob, S. A., & Rashidi, M. R. (2011). Effects of Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) and its Flavonol Constituents, Kaempferol and Quercetin, on Serum Uric Acid Levels, Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress and Liver Xanthine Oxidoreductase Aactivity inOxonate-Induced Hyperuricemic Rats. Iranian journal of pharmaceutical research : IJPR, 10(4), 811–819.
- Welch AA, Hardcastle AC. The effects of flavonoids on bone. Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2014 Jun;12(2):205-10. doi: 10.1007/s11914-014-0212-5. PMID: 24671371.
Registered Dietician Linda Illingworth is the founder of Nutrition Muse and current Director of Nutrition at Lifewellness Institute in Point Loma, CA. She is responsible for patient clinical care and corporate wellness education for local and international corporations. Using the premise that ‘every molecule in your body is sourced from food’, she focuses on food as the foundation for health. She supports her clients through lifestyle changes to make the most impact on health. As a certified specialist in Sports Nutrition, Linda also has specialized training in food sensitivities, supplementation, wellness, thyroid, and cardiovascular nutrition.