The culinary herb western parsley (WP) can boost antioxidant activity in fatty foods and improve stabilisation over a long storage period, according to a study by Japanese researchers.
The study ‘Antioxidant potential of western parsley extract and its effects on oxidative stabilities of food during storage’ found that the oxidative stability of food increased by adding WP.
The researchers said this revealed the potent antioxidant activities of the herb and meant it could be used to help stabilise food during storage to prevent lipid oxidation as an alternative to synthetic antioxidants.
The research was conducted at the University of Tokyo by Huijuan Jia et al.
“Our results suggest WP, a commonly used plant, can be used effectively as a natural antioxidant, which is increasingly important as an additive in the food industry, especially in fat-based foods,” said the study.
Potential health benefits
“In addition to their antioxidative role, presently, there are convincing evidences that nature antioxidants exert a protective effect in many pathological conditions, such as inflammatory disorders, cardiovascular diseases and cancers,” it continued.
Previous research from the same researchers found WP could promote the excretion of heavy metals, such as cadmium which is present in dark chocolate.
In the present study the researcher also suggested that the herb had possible medicinal attributes, including diuretic, laxative and antimicrobial.
The effect of WP on food storage was compared with the synthetic antioxidant ethoxyquin (EQ). Both were put under accelerated oxidative stress and stored for 42 days then compared using several tests to determine oxidative stability.
In most tests, WP was found to be more effective in preventing lipid oxidation than EQ.
“According to our results, replacement of EQ by a natural antioxidant such as WP might be considered a better option when the oxidative stability of food is a concern.”
WP is currently used predominantly as culinary herb for meat, fish and vegetables and has also been employed in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.
The researchers believe the herb could have potential as an extract in fat based foods, such as confectionery or baked goods.
Study: JIA, H., REN, H., DENG, C., KATO, H. and ENDO, H. (2011), ANTIOXIDANT POTENTIAL OF WESTERN PARSLEY (PETROSELINUM CRISPUM) EXTRACT AND ITS EFFECTS ON OXIDATIVE STABILITIES OF FOOD DURING STORAGE. Journal of Food Biochemistry. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-4514.2011.00597.x