Chives have so many health benefits that you’ll want to add them to your diet. In addition to being related to onions and garlic, chives are a rich source of dietary fiber, vitamin K, provitamin A, and flavonoids. Their benefits include reducing cancer risk, improving heart health, and treating inflammation. They may also alleviate digestive problems due to their fiber content.
What Are Chives?
Chives are a common herb that can be found in most grocery stores and are often used as a seasoning. In addition, the plant provides a great deal of nectar for pollinators. Besides serving as an attractive garnish for a variety of dishes, such as salads, baked potatoes, etc., chives are also used as a food additive.
It is pertinent to know that chives are divided into two kinds – onion chives (also known as common chives) and Chinese chives (also called garlic chives). Garlic chives have flat leaves as opposed to onion chives, which have hollow leaves.
This post is part of a series on spices. You can find the other posts here: iliki(cardamom), cumin, coriander, cinnamon, Chili Pepper, cloves, black pepper, ginger, curry powder, coconut milk, tamarind, and desiccated coconut.
What Is The History Of Chives?
The knowledge of something would not be complete without knowing its history, so here is what you need to know.
The use of chives dates back more than 5,000 years. The cultivation of chives dates back to the beginning of the 5th Century, which is commonly referred to as the Middle Ages. At that time, chives were known as ‘rush leeks’.
This herb was believed by the Romans to be able to relieve sunburns and sore throats. Additionally, they believed that chives were diuretics. During the 19th century, Dutch farmers fed chives to their cattle in order to improve the taste of their milk.
Chives vs. Green Onions
Green onions and chives should not confuse anyone, anymore. Green onions and chives are different visually. Chive stems are long, solid green very skinny, and tender, whereas green onions have more substantial and a thicker stem that is green toward the top and white at the bottom. Chives are delicate and tender and are best eaten raw or cooked very briefly.
Nutritional Value of Chives
Calories And Fat
The low-calorie content of chives makes them an ideal alternative to other flavorings. There are only four calories in a quarter cup of chives. A serving of chives contains only one-tenth of a gram of fat and does not contain sodium.
In the form of beta-carotene, chives are a rich source of vitamin A. Enzymes in the digestive system break down beta-carotene into two molecules of vitamin A during digestion. There are 522 international units(IU) of vitamin A in a quarter cup serving of chives. It’s about 17% of the recommended daily intake for men of 3000 IU and about 22% of the recommended daily intake for women of 2333 IU.
Approximately one-fifth of the daily recommended intake of vitamin K for men and 29% for women can be obtained from a quarter cup serving of chives, about 26 micrograms. In your body, this vitamin activates numerous enzymes that are essential for the mineralization of bones and the growth of cells.
The main antioxidants found in chives are quercetin and vitamin K. Studies have also shown that quercetin, as well as other flavonoids, may be helpful in preventing breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrium cancer, and lung cancer. Furthermore, chives contain a lot of carotenes, zeaxanthin, and lutein, which all contribute to the prevention of cancer in the lungs and mouths.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Chives?
A significant part of the health benefits of chives can be attributed to flavonoid antioxidants. It is believed that these antioxidants can help in the fight against cancer, improve the health of the heart, and even reduce inflammation. Additionally, they promote the health of the skin and detoxify the body. Moreover, the fiber contained in them can assist in the digestion process.
Several studies have been produced which suggest that alliums, including chives, could help prevent or fight against cancer. Certain compounds found in chives, including sulfur, can deter cancerous cells from growing or spreading throughout the body.
Chives help fight cancer
There is a great deal of evidence that the flavonoid antioxidants we saw earlier, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, are beneficial in protecting the body against lung and mouth cancers. There is also a high fiber content in chives, and this helps to prevent the development of colon cancer. As with other members of the family, chives as well contain allicin, one of the most important antioxidants known to help prevent breast cancer.
A variety of studies have shown that vegetables belonging to the family of allium (those that contain the chemical allicin) are able to inhibit the growth of cancers in the stomach and the esophagus. As well as that, chives help promote the production of glutathione in your body.
This is a powerful antioxidant that helps you detect and eliminate carcinogens in your body. The use of chives has also been shown to prevent prostate cancer according to studies that have been conducted. Several other studies have also been conducted that mention that chives as well as other members of their family may have anti-cancer properties.
Vitamin A-containing foods, like chives, help prevent osteoporosis from developing later in life. Chives are packed with Vitamin K, a critical component in bone density.
Chives protect the heart
Once again, it is the allicin in chives that takes the credit for this. The compound is an organosulfur, and it has been found to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels in people. As a result of allicin releasing nitric oxide into the bloodstream, the blood vessels become less stiff, and blood pressure is reduced as well. As a result of the quercetin that is present in chives, it helps to lower the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
Aside from helping to lower the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) in the body, allicin also helps to increase the levels of good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) in the body – which is also beneficial to the health of the heart.
Chives are also known to enhance circulation in the body. Vitamin C found in these herbs improves the elasticity of the blood capillaries as well as the absorption of iron from the body. Furthermore, chives contain a significant amount of folic acid, which prevents the blood vessels from constricting
Chives Boost Immunity
As a result of the numerous phytochemicals found in chives, your immune system can be boosted. It is also important to note that chives contain trace amounts of selenium, which is another crucial mineral that can be used to strengthen immunity. Deficiencies in selenium can cause immune cells to have a difficult time making proteins and delivering calcium to the bones.
The consumption of chives can also boost the activity of your T-cells. It is also important to note that they can further help protect you against colds and flu. It should be noted, however, that little research has been done on this topic.
In accordance with research findings, chives contain sulfuric compounds that, in turn, help boost the immune system. By doing this, wounds are also able to heal faster as well.
Chives enhance Bone Health
The chives are rich in vitamin K, a nutrient that is very important for strengthening your bones. As a result of this vitamin, the integrity and density of the bones are maintained. Aside from helping to regulate cells, vitamin K also assists in the prevention of bone demineralization through the regulation of cells. Furthermore, this vitamin also plays a significant role in the production of a protein that plays a crucial role in the maintenance of bone mineral density, a protein called osteocalcin.
There is also the possibility that a sufficient intake of vitamin K can reduce the amount of calcium that is excreted in the urine (which is yet another cause of bone loss). It should also be noted that other studies have also discussed how chives can help to maintain bone health.
There is some evidence that chives have anti-inflammatory properties that might be helpful in treating arthritis, but more research is needed.
Chives help The Digestive Process
By eating chives, you are able to cleanse your body of bacteria, yeast, and fungi that could otherwise clog up your digestive system and hamper digestion. Several strains of salmonella (which can cause intestinal distress) have been found to be susceptible to the antibacterial properties of chives, which can help eradicate at least 30 strains.
In addition to providing a significant amount of fiber, chives are also filled with vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that are known to assist in digestion. These include niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, and zinc. It has also been found that this combination of phytochemicals can relieve upset stomachs as well.
It has also been reported that chive can relieve flatulence as well as stimulate digestion.
Chives aid in Detoxifying The Body
While there has been only a limited amount of research on this, some sources have suggested that chlorophyll and vitamin K found in chives help clean the blood. It has been suggested that the minerals found in chives may be able to neutralize the toxins in the body.
The antibacterial properties of chives might also aid the detoxification process.
Chive Enhance Sleep And Mood
There is a considerable amount of choline in chives, which is one of the most critical nutrients for maintaining a healthy sleep cycle. Chives contain folic acid, which is known to increase dopamine and serotonin levels, which promote a positive mood.
Chives have Antimicrobial Properties
Besides their antibacterial properties, chives possess antiviral, antifungal, and antibiotic properties. In one study, Chinese chives were found to possess antimicrobial properties. Chinese chives are included in another study that shows that they have the highest level of antibacterial activity.
Along with vitamin C, the antibiotic properties of chives have the capacity of destroying microbes that could harm your health. As a result of the combination, yeast infections can be effectively treated.
Chives can Boost Skin Health
Beta-carotene, an antioxidant found in chives, plays an important role in improving the health and appearance of the skin. Additionally, it is able to help treat acne, while vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help slow the aging process. This treatment may benefit in the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, two of the most noticeable signs of aging. For this purpose, chive face masks can be used.
Chives contain both choline and folate. Individually, each of these components is linked to improving memory functions.
The Choline element found in chives is helpful for lack of sleep problems, muscle movement, learning, and memory. Folate also helps with depression by preventing an excess of homocysteine from forming in the body.
The carotenes found in chives, namely lutein, and zeaxanthin, are directly responsible for reducing oxidative stress in the ocular system and delaying the appearance of cataracts in the eye.
Another of the essential nutrients in chives, folic acid, is essential for pregnant mothers who want to ensure the healthy development of their infant. Folic acid prevents neural tube defects in newborn infants, and this herb is a rich source of folic acid for conscientious mothers.
How to Prepare Chives
Chives have a unique, spicy flavor that’s somewhere between the taste of garlic and the taste of onions. Their pungent flavor is best enjoyed when chives are taken straight from the garden.
The most common way to eat chives is to chop them into small ringlets and sprinkle them on cooked food as a garnish. However, chives can be enjoyed raw or cooked in larger quantities. Their unique flavor palette makes them an easy substitution for garlic or green onions in recipes, or a quick addition to recipes that include those flavors.
If you’re looking to add more chives to your diet, some easy ways to do so include:
- Sprinkling them on garlic bread
- Dicing and cooking them with hamburger meat
- Sprinkling them on baked potatoes
- Swirling them into homemade butter
- Tossing them in a fresh salad
Chives Powder is made by drying the chives and grounding them. With their mild onion flavor, chives complement potatoes, vegetables, fish, veal, creamy sauces, cheese, and eggs. Add chives at the last moment when cooking hot soups, sauces, and sautés, since extended cooking tends to reduce their flavor.