Basil vs. Parsley — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison
Parsley contains more Vitamin K, Vitamin C, folate, and Vitamin A, as well as more potassium and iron compared to basil. Specifically, parsley provides 6 times more Vitamin C and 2 times more Vitamin K than basil. The glycemic index of parsley is also lower than that of basil.
On the other hand, basil has more manganese, copper, and Vitamin B6.
Table of contents
In this article, you can find a detailed description of the differences between basil and parsley.
What's the Actual Difference?
Basil and parsley have different textures and tastes, and they also originate from different plant families.
The main difference between basil and parsley is that parsley is a leafy herb and vegetable that belongs to the Petroselinum genus within the Apiaceae family, while basil is a tender plant that belongs to the Ocimum genus within the Lamiaceae family.
Parsley has a clean and peppery taste, green color, and feather-like leaves. Its leaves are solid and oblong, with a point at the end. Basil has a fresh flavor, with a finish of black pepper and subtle anise.
Both are widely used in the culinary world.
Usually, the serving size for parsley is larger than that of basil. Since basil is mostly used as a garnish, its serving is about 2 tablespoons, equaling around 5.3 grams. On the other hand, the serving size of parsley is one cup, which is around 60 grams.
To make the comparison easier, we will be referring to 100-gram servings of each.
Macronutrients and Calories
As can be seen from the macronutrient composition graphs below, basil and parsley have similar macronutrient compositions.
Just like most fruits and vegetables, water makes up most of their content – basil consists of 92% of water, while parsley consists of 88% water.
Both basil and parsley are low in calories.
Basil contains 23 calories per 100g, whereas parsley contains 36 calories per 100g.
Both basil and parsley are low-carb foods; however, parsley has two times more carbs than basil.
Per 100-gram serving, parsley contains 6.33g of carbs, whereas basil contains 2.65g.
Moreover, parsley contains 3.33g of fiber and 3.02g of net carbs. Basil contains 1.6g of fiber and 1.05g of net carbs.
Fats and Cholesterol
The fat content in both basil and parsley is less than 1g per 100-gram serving. Basil contains 0.64g of fat, and parsley contains 0.79g of fat.
Basil and parsley contain no cholesterol.
Basil and parsley have very low amounts of protein.
The vitamin content of parsley is richer than that of basil.
The predominant vitamins found in both parsley and basil are Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and folate.
Parsley contains six times more Vitamin C, two times more Vitamin K, and more Vitamin B3, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B1, Vitamin A, and folate.
Parsley falls in the range of the top 10% of foods as a source of Vitamin A and the range of the top 12% of foods as a source of Vitamin C.
On the other hand, basil contains more Vitamin B6.
Both parsley and basil are rich in minerals.
Basil contains calcium, magnesium, copper, and less sodium than parsley. In addition, basil falls in the range of the top 13% of foods as a source of calcium.
Parsley has more zinc, potassium, and zinc than basil. This herb falls in the range of the top 9% of foods as a source of iron.
Parsley is considered low glycemic index food, while basil is considered high glycemic index food. The GI of basil is 70, whereas the GI of parsley is equal to 32.
One way to understand the acidity of foods is through their potential renal acid load (PRAL) value. The PRAL value shows how much acid or base the given food produces inside the organism after consumption.
The PRAL values of parsley and basil are -11.1 and -6.5, respectively, which means that parsley has a greater potential to alkalize the body.
Diuretic properties of parsley work best in hypertensive individuals and may aid in removing excess water from the body. Parsley contains a high concentration of Vitamin K, which has anti-calcification properties in blood vessels, allowing for smooth blood flow and lowering the risk of plaque formation and atherosclerosis complications (1).
Basil contains eugenol, which has the potential to block calcium channels and lower blood pressure. According to one study, blood pressure returned to normal after a few minutes of using eugenol extract (2). Basil also contains essential oils that may aid in the reduction of cholesterol and triglycerides. Furthermore, this herb contains magnesium, which may improve blood flow by relaxing muscles and blood vessels.
One study shows that parsley contains antioxidant flavonoids, such as apigenin, which has anti-carcinogenic properties in almost all cancer cell lines (3).
Basil is high in antioxidants like lutein, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. These antioxidants have numerous health benefits, including the possibility of lowering the risk of several types of cancer, such as lung cancer, liver cancer, oral cancer, and skin cancer (4).
Vitamin A is abundant in parsley. According to a new study, Vitamin A improves insulin-producing-cell function (5). The researchers first discovered that insulin-producing beta-cells have a high Vitamin A cell surface receptors concentration.
A basil extract was found to help reduce high blood sugar levels in one study. Sweet basil extract, in particular, may aid in the long-term treatment of high blood sugar (6).
According to one in vitro study, basil leaf extract helps manage the inhibition of a-glucosidase and pancreatic a-amylase enzymes, which may help treat type 2 diabetes (7).
The allergy to basil is caused by our immune system mistaking basil for a dangerous invader. Basil allergy symptoms include tingling or itching in the mouth, a runny nose, itchy eyes, and, in rare cases, diarrhea (8).
Parsley can cause food allergy symptoms in people who are allergic to pollen, especially those with allergic rhinitis (9).
Fat Type Comparison
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Glycemic Index|
|Lower in price|
|Rich in vitamins|
|Lower in Sugar|
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in Cholesterol||Equal|
|Rich in minerals||Equal|
All nutrients comparison - raw data values
|Vitamin A RAE||264µg||421µg|
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet|
|Low Calories diet|
|Low Glycemic Index diet|
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Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.
- Basil - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172232/nutrients
- Parsley - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170416/nutrients
All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.