Over the winter months, it’s all the more important to make sure you’re getting a healthy dose of Vitamin C. Since I started growing my own herbs I wondered which of these luscious greens would provide the most Vitamin C in cooking. Here’s what I found:
The herbs highest in Vitamin C are
Let’s look at this list in a bit more detail and see which of these herbs provides the most vitamin c and how we can make use of these vitamin-rich herbs in our daily cooking!
What herbs are high in vitamin c?
Herbs highest in vitamin c are in descending order coriander, thyme, parsley, dill, cloves, saffron, pepper, paprika, chili, and basil. However, there is a stark difference in vitamin c content between the top 3 herbs and the rest.
Coriander alone can provide more vitamin c than thyme, parsley, and dill put together. Thyme and parsley also contain significantly more vitamin c than any of the following herbs such as dill, saffron or basil.
To get a sense of how big the difference in vitamin c content really is let’s have a look at this table:
|Herb||Vitamin C per 100g|
- Coriander: Coriander is simply a powerhouse of vitamin c. There is no other herb that even comes close to the amount of vitamin c that coriander provides. 100 grams of coriander leaves will provide about 567mg of vitamin c.
- Thyme: While thyme cannot match the vitamin c amount in coriander it certainly can add some essential vitamins in lower quantities. 160mg of vitamin c is present in about 100 grams of thyme.
- Parsley: This herb of central European origins thrives in milder climates yet is almost as rich in vitamin c as thyme. Parsley can also easily be added to dishes in larger quantities making an excellent vitamin c source with 122mg per 100g.
- Dill: Probably most famous in potato salad, dill can boost your body’s vitamin c reserves with its content of 85 milligrams per 100 grams. And even if potato salad is not your thing you can add dill to any kind of salad along with some lemon for a unique flavor profile.
- Cloves: Although cloves are typically not eaten whole, some of the vitamin c contained in their flower. In fact, cloves are actually more of a fruit than an herb since they are the flower buds of the syzygium aromaticum tree.
- Saffron: Saffron is most well-known for its use in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine. A lesser-known fact is that saffron also provides a decent dose of vitamin c at 81mg per 100g. However, one downside is that you will seldom find saffron being used in larger quantities due to its strong flavor and high cost.
- Pepper: You’ve likely added pepper to some of your meals in the past few days without knowing that it contained any vitamin c. But, it does! Continue adding ground pepper to your food and you will get around 76mg of vitamin c per 100g of pepper.
- Paprika: Paprika in powder form is a great addition to any savory meal and will 71mg of Vitamin C to your diet for every 100g serving.
- Chilli: While I tend to add chili to every dish in copious quantities, it is mostly used in moderation. Even so, you get around 64mg of vitamin c in 100g of chili; but I would not recommend eating that much chili at once.
- Basil: Basil is one of my favorite herbs to add to any dish and believe me I can add copious amounts! So, even though it comes in last in vitamin c content, the quantity of basil I tend to add to dishes makes up for some of the vitamin c in this herb.
What herbs are low in vitamin c?
Herbs that are low in vitamin c include coriander seed, dill seed, and fennel seed. Basically, any kind of plant seed will contain very little of this essential vitamin since it is mostly stored in the plant leaves.
As such, look for herbs with voluminous leaves and a fresh green color to get the highest vitamin c content. These herbs are lowest in overall vitamin c content:
- Coriander seed
- Dill seed
- Fennel seed
Why Vitamin C in herbs is important
Your Vitamin C levels can have a significant impact on your overall health. Since this vitamin affects hundreds of micro-processes in our bodies it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what benefit it yields. However, here are just some of the reasons you should look out for vitamin c in your herbs.
Vitamin c boosts your overall immunity by stimulating the production of white blood cells. It then protects these cells from damage and interacts directly with your skin to carry away toxins and act as an antioxidant (source).
These combined effects of vitamin c may even mitigate the risk of heart disease by managing high blood pressure. However, many of the proclaimed effects of vitamin c are still scientifically verified as it can be hard to rule out any corroborating factors.
Given all the potential health benefits, let’s look at some simple ways to add more vitamin c to our diets using herbs!
How to add more vitamin c-rich herbs to your diet
Herbs are easy to grow or buy and can be added to any meal. Not only do they taste delicious but contain many other valuable nutrients such as magnesium and zinc. Since coriander, thyme, and parsley contain the most vitamin c per serving by far I will focus on ways to incorporate these three herbs into our cooking.
Here are some really simple ways to add these herbs to your dishes and boost your vitamin c household:
- Crispy Coriander Potatoes: Coriander is an herb that goes well with almost any Indian dish and not only brings out the taste of chicken but also gives potatoes a new twist. Any time you’re thinking oven potatoes, think coriander! Add plenty of coriander leaves to the potatoes before roasting to infuse them with flavor and vitamin c.
- Lemon Thyme Chicken: Thyme and chicken were made to be eaten together. Add lemon to that mix and you get an explosive combination of flavors that can be slightly addictive. When chicken is on the menu, see if you can find a way to add some lemon and thyme. Fresh or dried thyme will work just fine with this although fresh herbs tend to be higher in vitamin c.
- Parsley Pesto Pasta: Parsley can be added to pretty much any Italian dish but it goes fantastically well with pasta. Many kinds of pesto just use basil as their herb of choice when in fact parsley works well too! You can even make your own parsley pesto and add tons of fresh parsley leaves for a vitamin c-rich paste you can add to your cooking.
Herbs can contains large amounts of vitamin c. However, since these herbs are usually not consumed in large quantities it can be difficult to get any significant amount of vitamin c from any herb.
Luckily, coriander, thyme, and parsley contain a ton of vitamin c that even smaller amounts can affect your vitamin c intake. I have personally made sure to add one of these herbs to a dish every day!
So far, I’m don’t know if it has had any effect on my health but it sure tastes delicious 😉
“Coriander” by Bishwo Ghimire is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0; “File:A scene of Coriander leaves.JPG” by Thamizhpparithi Maari is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0; “Quail marinated with thyme, citrus, chilli with harissa – Cafe Mint AUD11.50 meze” by avlxyz is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0