Posted by: godshealingplants | January 27, 2018

CHIVES HEALTH BENEFITS

HISTORY

Chives belong to the same family as garlic, shallot, scallion, and Chinese onion. They are perennial plants and are predominantly found across several parts of Europe, Asia, and North America. They have been around for more than 5,000 years. But they were not actively cultivated as food until the Middle Ages. The botanical name, Allium schoenoprasum, derives from the Greek meaning reed-like leek.

The Romans believed that this herb could relieve pain from sunburn and sore throat. They also believed that chives could act as a diuretic. 

ABOUT

Chives grow in clumps like grasses, sending up hollow thin leaves that grow to 12 inches. Unlike regular onions, no large bulb forms underground. And the plant offers a huge amount of nectar for pollinators.

 

The leaves provide the flavor, and savvy cooks treat them as herbs, adding them at the end of cooking to preserve their character and color. 

NUTRITIONAL VALUE

Chives have excellent antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antibiotic properties. They contain a host of other nutrients important for a healthy diet. High in vitamins A, C, and K and known for having antioxidant power to take the bite out of free radicals; chives contain flavonoid antioxidants like carotenes, zeaxanthin, lutein, and many other healthful phytonutrients.

 

They’re an excellent source of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese and also provide healthy amounts of thiamin, niacin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, riboflavin, and zinc. 

HEALTH BENEFITS

Chives are extremely rich in flavonoid antioxidants, which contribute to most of the benefits. These antioxidants help fight cancer, improve heart health, and can even fight inflammation. They also detoxify the body and boost skin health. And the fiber in them can help ease the digestive process.  

Here are some of their benefits: 

Boost Immunity – The numerous phytochemicals in chives can boost your immune system. Chives also contain selenium in trace amounts, which is another important mineral that strengthens immunity. Immune cells deficient in selenium can have difficulty in producing proteins and transporting calcium. 

Boost Vision – This benefit should be attributed to the lutein and zeaxanthin in chives, which reduce oxidative stress in the eyes and boost vision health. They also slow down the development of cataracts. Chives also contain quercetin, which, as per studies can help preserve vision in patients with macular degeneration. 

Detoxify The Body – Though there is limited research on this, certain sources say that the presence of chlorophyll and vitamin K in chives helps keep the blood clean. The minerals in chives might neutralize the toxins in the body. The antibacterial properties of chives might also aid the detoxification process. 

Ease The Digestive Process – Chives help get rid of the harmful bacteria, yeast, and fungi in your intestinal tract that might otherwise hamper your digestion. The antibacterial properties of chives can help eliminate at least 30 strains of salmonella.  

Chives are also a great combination of fiber and other essential nutrients like niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, zinc – all of which are known to ease the digestive process. This phytochemical combination can also soothe an upset stomach.

 

Enhance Sleep and Mood – Chives are good sources of choline, which is one important nutrient that aids proper sleep. And the folic acid in chives is also known for boosting the production of dopamine and serotonin, which are feel-good hormones that boost your mood. 

Fight Cancer – The flavonoid antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, are known to protect one from lung and mouth cancers. Since chives are also rich in fiber, they help prevent colon cancer. And like other members of the family, chives also contain allicin, an important antioxidant known to prevent breast cancer. Various studies have shown that allium vegetables (those containing allicin) possess inhibiting effects on the cancers of the stomach and esophagus.  

Improve Bone Health – The vitamin K contained in chives, is a nutrient quite important for the bones. This vitamin helps maintain bone integrity and density. Vitamin K also assists the regulation of cells that aid the prevention of bone demineralization. Though more research is required, the anti-inflammatory properties of chives might also help treat arthritis. 

Protect The Heart – The allicin in chives are known to lower the levels of bad cholesterol and blood pressure and increase good cholesterol levels. Allicin releases nitric oxide in the bloodstream, which reduces the stiffness of the blood vessels as well as blood pressure. And the quercetin in chives reduces the build-up of plaque in the arteries. Chives enhance circulation as well. The vitamin C they contain improves the elasticity of the blood capillaries and iron absorption. And the folic acid in chives prevents the constriction of blood vessels. 

HOW TO SELECT AND STORE

Chives are available in most grocery stores. Pick chives that are uniformly green and crisp with no shriveling or browning at the tips.

 

Wrap unwashed chives loosely in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator in the vegetable drawer.  

When they are ready to be used, you can wash them slice them thinly and add them to your dish once it is finished cooking to maintain their flavor, vitamins and minerals. 

HOW TO USE

There are numerous ways chives can be used:

 

Chives are an attractive garnish and taste great when sprinkled on fresh salads

 

They are a great addition when sprinkled on top of a baked potato

 

They taste great as a final touch on a creamy cucumber salad

You can also use them to flavor sauces and dips

Combined with eggs they are delicious and give it a special zing

 

 You can also use the chopped leaves to make herbal vinegar.

 

A WORD OF CAUTION

 Excess intake of chives can lead to an upset stomach. Also if you are nursing eating too many chives can affect the taste of the milk for your baby.

SOURCES 

http://webmd.com

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

http://mercola.com

 

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