Eating Parsley for Healthy Skin and Hair
Fresh parsley is a simple and nutritious food to add to a variety of meals such as salads, soups, pesto, pasta and rice dishes, stir fries and sandwiches. Eating parsley is also a great way to get many of the important nutrients for healthy skin and hair into your diet.
Parsley Nutrients for Healthy Skin
Parsley is rich in vitamin C which is needed for collagen production, clearing up blemishes and maintaining good skin tone. The very high levels of vitamin K in it may also help improve skin’s elasticity and appearance as well as speeding up wound healing and reducing redness.
Beta-carotene in parsley can be converted to vitamin A for skin maintenance and repair (a dry and flaky forehead and cheeks are a common symptom of mild vitamin A deficiency), or act as a powerful antioxidant to protect your skin cells from free radical damage. See the page on parsley nutrition for details on the many other antioxidants and nutrients in this amazing herb.
Eating parsley is a good way to get more minerals into your diet. There are good levels of calcium, potassium, manganese and iron in parsley and its copper and zinc content are especially relevant for maintaining healthy skin and alleviating blemishes. If you have a good juicer then juicing it would be an extremely effective way to get a concentrated amount of all of its minerals, vitamins and other beneficial compounds.
The volatile oils in parsley, eugenol in particular, have antibacterial and antifungal properties and may help to disinfect pores, fight infections and prevent acne. Odorless garlic and parsley oil supplements are a convenient source of these volatile oils, though you should never use the undiluted essential oil directly on the face as it is far too powerful.
Parsley and Acne
Having parsley in your meals regularly is said to help balance out excessive sebum secretions in oily or inflamed skin. The volatile oils in it can also have an antibacterial effect on pores, potentially leading to less acne outbreaks.
Parsley’s high levels of vitamin C can provide antioxidant protection for skin cells. This may reduce the irritations that can lead to pimples. Vitamin C is also known to speed up skin healing, so will help reduce the time it takes for blemishes to clear.
The zinc found in parsley is a mineral well known for its beneficial effects on acne. Zinc is involved in inflammation control, wound healing and skin cell maintenance and regeneration. A lot of people with acne problems report positive results when they add more zinc to their diet.
Parsley is also one of the best food sources of vitamin K. Vitamin K speeds up skin healing, reduces redness and may help diminish acne blemishes. It is also involved in regulating the body’s inflammatory response.
Some people have success with topical vitamin K treatments for reducing skin redness and clearing up acne scars, but getting good amounts of this vital yet hard to get nutrient internally by eating parsley regularly could be just as important for maintaining healthy skin.
Parsley for Hair Growth
Parsley has been traditionally used as a hair tonic in an infusion massaged directly into the scalp to stimulate hair growth. It is also believed to help promote hair color (perhaps due to its copper content) and shine, both when used topically and in large amounts in the diet.
On a more scientific note, researchers have recently found that the antioxidant flavonoid apigenin in the herb stimulates hair growth through the down regulation of the TGF-beta1 gene.
Hair growth is closely linked to the level of overall nutrition we get into our diets on a regular basis. Parsley, being such a nutritious food, may address a number of nutritional deficiencies that can lead to hair loss and weak or lackluster hair in general.
It’s also very important for both your hair and your skin to make sure you’re are getting enough essential fatty acids. Black currant seed oil with it’s high levels of gamma linoleic acid and omega-3s is a great choice here.
There is another way more direct way to use the herb to improve your skin’s appearance. While eating parsley provides the nutrition for healthy skin internally, the parsley face mask coming up next can be very beneficial in reducing dark spots, discolored skin and acne problems.