Each year tons of parsley leaves are placed upon dinner plates worldwide, probably only to be scraped away with the leftovers. But as we move through menopause, parsley gives you the crucial folate that your ageing nervous system and heart need in mid-life.
The photo above is the parsley in my garden. When I learnt that numerous menopause supplements contain B-vitamins, I was curious as to why. However, the role of compounds from the group of B vitamins cannot be overestimated during menopause.
Folate (Vitamin B9) and vitamins B2, B6 and B12 in their co-enzymatic forms are all essential in a network of reactions involved in the energy-producing metabolic pathways for carbohydrates, fats and proteins. B vitamins play an important role in maintaining the functions of the nervous system, so if you’ve been feeling a bit anxious lately, or your hot flushes are getting you down, then perhaps what your body needs is my parsley hummus.
Numerous menopause supplements contain folic acid. This is the synthetic (man-made) form of folate, a B vitamin (B9) important for red blood cell production, energy metabolism, temperature regulation, nerve and heart function and many of you will already know of its importance in reproduction and pregnancy in the prevention of birth defects.
But do you really need the synthetic form of folate, when you can eat 1/2 cup of fresh parsley instead? This contains around 30-40 micrograms of folate, helping to boost your intake up to the recommended amount of 400 mcg per day.
Parsley is also great for cardiovascular health. Not only is this due to the higher fibre content of parsley helping to lower LDL-cholesterol levels, but research suggests that the flavonoids found in the herb can also reduce inflammatory changes in blood vessels. (Farzaei et al, 2013)
Menopause symptoms can be frustrating at the best of times, but many of these symptoms are a sign that your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs at this time of life. What I’ve learnt through my research is that by changing our lifestyle in mid-life and including nutrients that our body needs, makes a dramatic difference to symptoms.
That’s why as part of the MyMT™ Kitchen this week, I want you to make parsley the main ingredient, not just the garnish on the side.
2 cups cooked chickpeas
2 large garlic cloves, peeled, cut in half
2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
Salt to taste
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons sesame tahini,
Plain low-fat yogurt as needed
Step 1. Put the garlic in the food processor and whiz up. Turn off the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the chickpeas, parsley and salt to taste and whiz to a purée.
Step 2: Add the lemon juice and olive oil with the food processor running. Add the tahini and process until the hummus is smooth. It should not be too thick or dry. If it is, thin out as desired with yogurt or water, or with the broth from the chickpeas if you cooked them. Season to taste with salt.
Farzaei MH, Abbasabadi Z, Ardekani MR, Rahimi R, Farzaei F. Parsley: a review of ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry and biological activities. J Tradit Chin Med. 2013 Dec;33(6):815-26.