Although closely related, it should not be confused with the more popular varieties of leafy green parsley that you might grow in your garden or use as an herb.
Parsley root comes from a subspecies of garden parsley known scientifically as Petroselinum crispum Tuberosum. Although its leaves are edible, itâ€™s grown for its thick, tuberous roots (1).
While it looks like a cross between a carrot and a parsnip, its flavor profile is quite unique, as it provides hints of herbaceous parsley.
Here are 7 surprising benefits of parsley root.
1. Rich in nutrients
Parsley root boasts a rich supply of nutrients. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) raw serving contains (2):
- Calories: 55
- Carbs: 12 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: 0.6 grams
- Vitamin C: 55% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin B9 (folate): 45% of the DV
- Potassium: 12% of the DV
- Magnesium: 11% of the DV
- Zinc: 13% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 10% of the DV
- Iron: 7% of the DV
Parsley root is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C, folate, and zinc. It also provides magnesium, a mineral that much of the U.S. population doesnâ€™t get enough of (3).
Moreover, it packs almost 20% of the DV for fiber while still being low in calories and fat, making it a great nutrient-dense option for a variety of diets.
2. Provides powerful antioxidants
Parsley root supplies potent antioxidants, which may contribute to its potential health benefits (4).
Antioxidants reduce stress and fight free radicals â€” highly reactive particles that damage your cells, increase stress, and may contribute to disease if levels get too high in your body (5).
Myristicin and apiol, two of the primary antioxidants in parsley root, are considered responsible for much of its antioxidant activity (6).
Parsley root also contains a substantial amount of vitamin C, a nutrient that functions as an antioxidant and may help prevent disease (7).
3. May fight inflammation
Parsley root may boast several anti-inflammatory properties.
While inflammation is your bodyâ€™s natural response to stress, excessive inflammation may increase your risk of disease.
Parsley root contains several compounds, such as myristicin, apiol, and furanocoumarins, that are known to have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects (6, 8).
In addition, several of its vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, zinc, and magnesium, regulate your bodyâ€™s inflammatory response (9).
Including parsley root in a balanced diet alongside other nutrient-rich vegetables may reduce inflammation and help prevent certain chronic conditions, including heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis (10).
4. May boost detoxification
Various enzymes in your liver help eliminate toxins you may be exposed to via medications, food, or pollutants.
Glutathione, an antioxidant produced by your liver, plays a significant role in this detoxification process (11, 12).
One study found that parsley-root juice significantly increased the amount of glutathione and other detoxification enzymes in the liver tissue of mice given a highly toxic medication (13).
This outcome suggests that parsley-root juice may protect against exposure to harmful compounds.
However, as these results may not apply to humans, more research is necessary.
5. May boost your immunity
Parsley root is a great source of fiber and vitamin C, two nutrients that are vital for a healthy immune system.
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) raw serving contains over half of the DV for vitamin C and almost 20% of the DV for fiber (2).
Vitamin C is essential for a robust immune system, as it fights foreign bacteria, stress, and inflammation. Whatâ€™s more, it helps your skin tissue and digestive tract form a strong barrier against bacteria and other harmful substances (14).
Meanwhile, fiber supports the growth of healthy bacteria in your digestive tract. Research indicates that a healthy community of gut bacteria protects against infection (15).
6. May have anticancer properties
Some research suggests that parsley root may fight certain types of cancer.
This vegetable packs plenty of fiber, which is associated with a reduced risk of colon, ovarian, head, and neck cancers (16, 17, 18).
Additionally, one test-tube study found that parsley root extract inhibited the growth and proliferation of breast cancer cells (19).
Although this data is encouraging, well-designed human studies are needed to better understand this vegetableâ€™s effects on cancer.
7. Easy to add to your diet
Parsley root is versatile, edible raw or cooked, and easy to add to your routine.
Try to choose specimens that are beige in color, firm, and unbruised. If the tops are still attached, they should be deep green and not wilted.
Start by removing the tops, which can be used as a garnish or made into pesto later. Wash the roots well, but donâ€™t worry about peeling them. In fact, vegetable skins often provide a concentrated source of fiber and other nutrients (20).
You can cut parsley root into sticks and enjoy them plain or with your favorite almond, bean, or veggie dip. Otherwise, try shredding them to garnish salads or sandwiches.
Parsley root can also be steamed, roasted, or sautÃ©ed. It pairs well with other root vegetables and is delicious prepared au gratin or added to a roasted veggie medley.
In addition, you can steam and purÃ©e parsley root to use as a bed for meat roasts or veggie bakes, or chop them and add to soups or stews.
The bottom line
Parsley root is closely related to leafy green parsley and may provide a number of health benefits.
Itâ€™s loaded with nutrients and plant compounds that may reduce inflammation, boost immunity, and support liver function.
If youâ€™re curious about this unique root vegetable, you can add it to your diet today.
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