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This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Sage Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 8 g
Calories: 315 kcal
Protein: 10.6 g
Carbohydrate: 60.7 g
Dietary fiber: 40.3 g
Sugars: 1.7 g
Fat: 12.8 g
Saturated fat: 7 g
Monounsaturated fat: 1.9 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 1.8 g
Vitamin C: 32.4 mg
Vitamin B1: 0.8 mg
Vitamin B2: 0.3 mg
Vitamin B3: 5.7 mg
Vitamin B6: 2.7 mg
Vitamin B9: 274 μg
Vitamin A: 295 μg
Vitamin E: 7.5 mg
Vitamin K: 1714.5 μg
Calcium: 1652 mg
Iron: 28.1 mg
Magnesium: 428 mg
Phosphorus: 91 mg
Potassium: 1070 mg
Sodium: 11 mg
Zinc: 4.7 mg

Sage is a small shrub native to the Mediterranean, now used as a garden plant and an herb. Used in a number of European culinary traditions, it is probably most prominent in traditionally British dishes like sage and onion stuffing, casseroles and Lincolnshire sausages. Either eaten as a leaf or used as an essential oil, the sage leaf has a long history of being recommended as a panacea. While that’s certainly not the case, sage contains a few essential nutrients in high amounts, in addition to having possible beneficial effects for diseases as diverse as cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s.

Nutritionally, sage is surprisingly nutrient dense, although admittedly you’re not going to cure any vitamin deficiencies with something you may eat by the teaspoon. One tablespoon of dried sage contains a surprising 40% of your Daily Value (DV) of vitamin K, in addition to 5% DV of B6 and 3% DV of iron; and all that for only 6 calories! With vitamin K being essential for blood clotting and bone health, and B6 and iron being common deficiencies that can cause tiredness, anaemia and poor cognition, sage packs a small but notable punch in helping to fight important nutrient deficiencies.

The real benefits of sage, however, lie not in the relatively small amount of essential nutrients present, but in the numerous long-term health benefits that are being researched. To begin with, sage has proven antioxidant potential, as it contains compounds called polyphenols (among many others with antioxidant potential) that have been shown to prevent damage by free radicals. With free radical damage being attributed to a number of diseases from Alzheimer’s to macular degeneration, antioxidant activity is a great catch-all health benefit.

Beyond this, sage has some fantastic benefits for specific diseases long-term. To begin with, sage contains compounds that inhibit tumour growth. As this review notes (p.495S), sage contains both cineole and perillyl alchohol, both compounds of a class called terpenoids, both with proven tumour inhibiting effects. Beyond this, sage may have some benefits for the treatment of arthritis and for bone health, as one study demonstrated a substantial decrease in bone resorption (breakdown) when rats were given powdered sage, rosemary and thyme.

Finally, sage’s most interesting potential benefit lies in its possible benefits for helping to treat Alzheimer’s disease, and its benefits for cognitive function in general. One study with 190 rats showed significant improvements in memory retention when given sage leaf extract, and one human study in Alzheimer’s patients over 4 months showed significant improvements in the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease when given sage extract. Anything that can help increase your memory potential and help ward off symptoms of Alzheimer’s is surely a plus!