Culinary herbs and spices contribute bioactives to the diet, which act to reduce systemic inflammation and associated disease. Investigating the health effects of herb/spice consumption is hampered, however, by a scarcity of dietary assessment tools designed to collect herb/spice data. The objective of this study was to determine the relative validity of an online 28-item herb/spices intake questionnaire (HSQ). In randomized order, 62 volunteers residing in Idaho, USA, completed the online Diet History Questionnaire III + the HSQ followed one week later by one of two comparative methods: 7-day food records or three telephone-administered 24-h dietary recalls. Relative validity of the HSQ was tested two ways: (1) by comparing herb/spice intakes between the HSQ and comparator, and (2) by determining the correlation between herb/spice data and Healthy Eating Index 2015 score. The HSQ and both comparators identified black pepper, cinnamon and garlic powder as the three most commonly used herbs/spices. The HSQ captured significantly higher measures of the number and amount of herbs/spices consumed than the comparators. The number of herbs/spices consumed was significantly directly correlated with diet quality for the HSQ. These results support the ability of the HSQ to record general herb/spice use, yet suggest that further validation testing is needed.
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