Thyme vs. Parsley — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison
From the perspective of nutrition, thyme is a healthier food than parsley. Thyme is richer in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, and vitamins C, B2, B3, and B6, whereas parsley contains more sodium, selenium, vitamins B1, B9, A, E, and K. Thyme is richer in fibers.
It is hard to point out which food is healthier when it comes to health. Both have numerous health effects and benefits. The vitamin K in parsley gives it a healthier edge over thyme since it is one of the main vitamins of parsley and provides the most benefits.
Table of contents
In this article, we will be comparing two types of herbs: thyme and parsley. First, we will compare their general differences in usage and consumption.
Second, we will compare them on their nutritional basis and see what the difference between them is.
In the final section, we will compare their health impacts and discuss their negative and positive effects on human health.
At the end of this article, we must understand which herb is healthier, thyme or parsley. For this, it is necessary to discuss their nutritional and health aspects.
Thyme is from the mint family (Lamiaceae), whereas parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is from the carrot family (Umbelliferae/Apiaceae), both of which are widely cultivated across the globe.
There are three varieties of parsley: Neapolitanum, Crispum, and Tuberosum. Neapolitanum and Crispum are grown for their leaves, while Tuberosum is grown for its edible root. The plant produces greenish-yellow flowers in compound umbels, followed by small, ridged seeds in the second year. All plant parts have a characteristic aroma and a peppery taste with a touch of earthiness. Flat-leaf types have a more pungent, sweet flavor due to their higher essential oil content.
Thyme is a shrub that flourishes as either a yearly or evergreen perennial in temperate regions. The stems are woody and bear oval to linear leaves arranged oppositely. The tiny tubular flowers are typically purple or white and attract bees. Sicilian thyme honey is renowned for its unique blend of earthy, minty, and subtly lemony flavors.
Thyme and parsley have different culinary uses.
Thyme can be eaten dried, fresh, or brewed as a tea. Each has its benefits. Heat destroys specific vitamins, such as vitamin C, in thyme when it is brewed. However, extraction of the phenol compounds will be more efficient. Thus, it is important to integrate all sorts of thyme into an everyday diet.
In salads, parsley is typically cooked or raw, and it can also be brewed. That brew has very high diuretic effects.
Nutritional content comparison
The nutritional values are described for 100-gram servings of fresh thyme and fresh parsley.
Not of high relevance, but thyme is 2.8 times higher in calories than parsley.
Parsley is 65.11% water, whereas thyme is dryer, and 87.71% of its weight is water.
Thyme contains more protein than parsley, with 5.56g and 2.97g per 100g, respectively. It should be noted that parsley contains more essential amino acids compared to thyme.
Thyme has twice the fat content of parsley, but it should be noted that the fat content of these greens is minimal.
Thyme contains higher amounts of carbs compared to parsley. The difference is of 3.4 times.
Nearly 57% of the carbs in thyme are fiber. Thyme contains 4.2 times more fiber than parsley.
Both these herbs are categorized as low glycemic index foods. Parsley has a higher glycemic index.
Thyme has a high mineral profile compared to parsley. Thyme is richer in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and manganese (copper, calcium, magnesium, and iron satisfy the %RDVs for each), whereas parsley contains more sodium and selenium.
Below you can see the charts displaying their distributions.
Thyme is rich in vitamins C, B2, B3, and B6, while parsley has higher levels of fat-soluble vitamins like A, E, and K, as well as water-soluble vitamins B1 and B9.
It should be noted that 100 grams of parsley supply 1367% of the daily requirement for vitamin K.
Below we can see the charts displaying their distributions.
These herbs are mostly consumed for their vitamins, minerals, and fiber content.
Weight loss and diets
According to research, certain herbs are the best way to add taste to food without adding calories.
Thyme and parsley are permitted on many diets, including keto, paleo, Mediterranean, DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), and intermittent fasting.
According to this rat study, the aqueous methanolic extract of thyme consumed may decrease arterial blood pressure and heart rate; it may also decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol) levels in the blood (1).
Parsley also has a role in lipid profiles and arterial blood pressure regulation; it has diuretic effects that remove excess water from the body. This property is best used by hypertensive people (2.3).
In addition, herb consumption (including these ones) may improve the outcomes of statin (Atorvastatin, Rosuvastatin, etc.) therapy.
Compared to thyme, parsley is richer in vitamin K, which has anti-calcification effects on blood vessels, maintaining smooth blood flow and reducing the risks of plaque formation and complications of atherosclerosis problems (4).
Furthermore, patients on oral anticoagulant therapy (for example, people with persistent atrial fibrillation, after coronary artery stenting) should consume vitamin K-rich foods to guard against coumarin-induced side effects and to decrease diet-induced changes in their INR readings (5). It should be noted that it is necessary to consult with your doctor about this diet.
Thyme extract has been shown to repress cough reflexes and improve overall respiratory health in patients that suffer from bronchitis (6). This effect is unknown for parsley.
Thyme has anti-diabetic properties. Overall, it controls blood glucose levels. In addition, it has anti-lipidemic properties, which are important for preventing the development of metabolic syndrome, which in turn plays a role in the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus (7.8).
As for parsley, due to its high content of vitamin K, it may increase glucose tolerance and thus be beneficial in controlling type 2 diabetes (4).
In addition, dietary fiber in thyme and parsley may also help diabetics (types 1 and 2) control their blood glucose levels.
Carvacrol, thymol, and apigenin in thyme and parsley have anti-carcinogenic properties that enhance apoptosis-inducing proteins targeted at cancer cells. These were most effective in liver, breast, and lung carcinomas (9.10).
Herbs with high vitamin K content (remember, parsley contains more vitamin K than thyme) may reduce the risk of bone fractures in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis (11).
Thyme and parsley are both high in fiber. Because most dietary fiber is not digested or absorbed, it remains in the colon, where it modifies the digestion of other foods and influences stool consistency.
Some dietary fiber has been suggested as a treatment for digestive issues such as constipation, hemorrhoids, chronic diarrhea, and fecal incontinence. Fiber softens the feces, making them easier to pass. Fiber aids in the regular passage of stools, although it is not a laxative (12).
It is unclear whether a high-fiber diet is advantageous for patients with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or diverticulosis. Fiber may benefit some people with these diseases while worsening symptoms in others (12).
Dietary fiber intake should range between 20 and 35 grams per day (thyme has 14 grams). The amount of dietary fiber per serving can be determined by reading the nutrition label on packaged foods (12).
Fat Type Comparison
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Sugar|
|Lower in Sodium|
|Rich in minerals|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in Glycemic Index|
|Lower in price|
|Lower in Cholesterol||Equal|
|Rich in vitamins||Equal|
All nutrients comparison - raw data values
|Vitamin A RAE||238µg||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.
- Thyme - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173470/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.