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  • Brian Bender, PhD

Healthiest Herb: The Math that Proves Which Herb is Healthiest

Herbs are nutrient-packed, flavor-dense veggies that are an excellent addition to your meals for both flavor and health. But what is the healthiest herb?

The healthiest herbs are highly concentrated with essential vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.

The healthiest herbs also are high in fiber and low in sugar content.

Fortunately, it’s hard to go wrong with any herb when it comes to finding the best herb for health. They’re all fantastically nutritious, essentially acting as delicious versions of multivitamins.

The Healthiest Herbs are Excellent Sources of Many Essential Minerals

Using the USDA Food Search Database, we compiled the micronutrient content of each of 8 common herbs:

  • Basil

  • Parsley

  • Rosemary

  • Dill

  • Thyme

  • Spearmint

  • Peppermint

  • Cilantro

As you’ll see, the healthiest herbs are loaded with many essential vitamins and minerals. And it’s a good thing they do, since many Americans eat below the DRI for many of these essential dietary minerals.

What is the Healthiest Herb?

Parsley is the healthiest herb.

The healthiest herbs are not only dense in micronutrients, they are also full of a broad range of micronutrients. In other words, they are dense in a large variety of essential micronutrients.

Taking all of this into account, as well as macronutrient balance, fiber density, sugar density, fat content, and flavanoid profile, parsley topped our list as the healthiest herb!

See our interactive chart below to dive deeper, and feel free to share our ranking of the healthiest herbs with others!

What is the Healthiest Herb? (Interactive Chart)

As you can see, parsley is the healthiest herb on a calorie-by-calorie basis.

The complete ranking of the healthiest herbs, in order:

  1. Parsley

  2. Cilantro

  3. Basil

  4. Spearmint

  5. Peppermint

  6. Dill

  7. Thyme

  8. Rosemary

In addition to being dense in vitamins and minerals, the healthiest herbs also have a favorable macronutrient profile. They are high in fiber and low in sugar and sodium.

Fiber is an incredibly important nutrient that many of us do not consume enough of every day.

Best Herb for Weight Loss

Mint is the best herb for weight loss.

In addition to the health benefits of fiber, it can also be useful for weight loss.

Fiber has been shown to help you feel fuller, longer. Combining high fiber content with low calorie density, yields our list for the best herbs for weight loss.

The larger the circle, and darker green the circle is, the better that herb is for weight loss.

However, all of the herbs on this list will be great additions to your weight loss strategy. They will add amazing flavor and high fiber to any meal with very little calorie cost.

However, the best herb for weight loss with respect to fiber density with minimal calorie content is spearmint!

See our interactive chart below to learn more!

Best Herb for Weight Loss (Interactive Chart)

Low Sodium Herbs

Herbs are usually eaten in fairly small quantities. Therefore, many of us won’t eat enough of them to reach the upper threshold imposed on sodium in the dietary guidelines (2300 mg per day).

However, it is still important to take sodium content into account when ranking the healthiest herbs.

Basil is a low sodium herb.

On a per-calorie basis, thyme actually came in as the leader of low sodium herbs.

However, on a per-weight basis, basil had the lowest sodium content. In other words, in a 100 grams of each herb, basil will have the least amount of sodium.

See our interactive charts below to see how the other herbs compare on sodium content!

Low Sodium Herbs (Interactive Chart)

In Conclusion

The healthiest herb, on a calorie-by-calorie basis, is parsley!

Parsley had the best combination of micronutrient density and breadth, flavanoid profile, macronutrient balance, and fiber content.

All herbs are great for weight loss, but the best herb for weight loss, combining both high fiber and low calories, was spearmint.

And basil had the lowest sodium content per weight, while thyme had the lowest sodium content per calorie.

Each herb offers a unique flavor profile, and adds a great amount of depth and complexity to your dish. Even adding them to a simple salad does wonders.

And each herb is an extremely healthy addition to a balanced diet. You can’t go wrong with any of them. They’re also great plants to try growing if you’re new to gardening.

Where did your favorite herb fall on this list?

“The healthiest herb (and the math that proves it) is parsley!”

Intake’s mission is to improve global health through data-driven nutrition. Our blog provides information, education, tools, and tips about all things related to nutrition, including healthy eating, disease prevention, peak performance, and personalization. Sign up for alerts on new posts and product updates!


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