Properties and Benefits of Chives: Rich in vitamins A, C and K, folate and manganese, chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are a genuinely healthy addition to any diet. These grass-like tubular greens are not only full of flavor, but also extremely heart-friendly.
Regular consumption of chives is said to promote vasodilation, prevent blood clots and stroke. Moreover, being an incredible source of vitamins A and K, they are great for maintaining good eyesight and increasing calcium absorption in bones. Vitamins C and K offer it excellent antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, reduce cardiovascular disease risks and protect against oxidative stress and cell damage.
What are chives and what do they look like? Chives are actually a type of onion, more tender and quite flavorful. They are erect, tubular, deep green and thin plants, with pale clustered purple flowers and small bulbs. They are usually harvested when they reach 15 cm in height, but can grow up to 50 cm. Chives are not garlic chives, nor scallions. What do chives taste like? Chives have a very mild (spring) onion taste. Seen their flavor is not as pungent as that of regular onions, they should be added to dishes at the end of the cooking process so they don’t lose all of their flavor due to heat. You can also use chives as garnish for various meat or vegetable dihshes, salads and even rice.
Are chives vegetables? From a culinary point of view, chives are regarded as an herb and used as such. They are considered one of the four ‘fine herbes’ of French cuisine, alongside chervil, parsley and tarragon. Although the bulbs, flowers and scapes (stems) are all edible, the scapes are the preferred choice.
Here are the most noteworthy 10 nutrition facts and health benefits of chives:
1) Blood pressure benefits. Allicin, an organosulfur compound found naturally in chives, has been shown to release nitric oxide, a molecule responsible for dilating blood vessels. By dilating (widening) blood vessels, the allicin in chives lowers blood pressure. In addition to this, allicin prevents the formation of blood clots, thus reducing overall peripheral artery disease, coronary artery disease and stroke risks.
2) Cholesterol-lowering properties. Allicin was also shown to reduce cholesterol production by inhibiting the activity of a certain liver enzyme. However, keep in mind that allicin is produced immediately after chives are cut (or garlic is crushed) and persists for a limited period of time before being turned into other organosulfur compounds so you might want to serve your chives while they still ooze a pleasant onion-like fragrance.
3) Supports blood coagulation processes. Chives are extremely rich in vitamin K (177% of the RDA). One of the main functions of vitamin K is activating blood coagulation processes which prevent massive blood loss. Basically, chives support circulatory health.
4) Great natural antiseptic. The organosulfur compounds found naturally in chives, namely diallyl disulfide, diallyl trisulfide, allyl propyl disulfide, boast excellent antiseptic properties.
5) Stimulates immunity. Chives are an excellent source of vitamin C, providing 98% of the RDA per 100 g of scapes. Vitamin C is great for stimulating the immune system due to its incredible antibacterial and antiviral properties. Moreover, chives provide us with 145% of the RDA of vitamin A, another incredible immune booster. Vitamin A ensures the health of the mucous membranes at the level of the nose, mouth, throat, lungs and digestive tract, the parts of our body directly exposed to the outside world and the health threats lurking out there, making them more resistant to infection.
6) Promotes good eyesight. Rich in vitamin A as well as beta-carotene, chives ensure the health of our eyesight. Lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants with vitamin A activity, protect the macula lutea area and the retina from harmful free radicals from light and are said to contribute to lowering macular degeneration risks (loss of central vision).
7) Increases calcium absorption in bones. Chives are an incredible source of vitamin K, a nutrient known to increase calcium absorption in bones. By preventing hormonal imbalances leading to bone demineralization, vitamin K preserves bone integrity and bone health. Moreover, a healthy intake also prevents arterial calcification and its aftermath, atherosclerosis.
8) Reduces inflammation levels. Rich in vitamins C and K, two potent natural anti-inflammatory agents, chives are efficient at reducing inflammation levels.
9) Offers antioxidant protection. Chives abuond in phenolic antioxidants, flavonoids, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and contain important amounts of antioxidants vitamins and minerals, all of which protect cells against oxidative stress, a buildup of free radical damage. Oxidative stress has been linked to most forms of chronic illness ranging from diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer to dementia, Parkinson’s disease and chronic fatigue.
10) Helps prevent neural tube defects. The high vitamin B9 (folate) content recommends chives for the prevention of spinal cord defects in newborns, also known as neural tube defects.
However healthy they may be, chives (just like onions, spring onions, papaya, pineapple or garlic) might upset your stomach. This isn’t really a thing you should worry about. Certain people are more sensitive to certain foods than others. While I cope well with pineapple and garlic, some people may have a really hard time digesting them. Remember that what’s good for someone might not be good for you too. Just learn what foods your stomach is ok with and avoid the foods that do not agree with you.