Chives are a green grass-like herb that belongs to the same family as onions, leeks, scallion and garlic. They look like green onions but are not the same. In ancient times, they were believed to ward off evil and so people hang them as decorations and used them in fortune-telling. Today, they are often used in small quantities as a garnish but pack a savoury punch and have promising health benefits to boot. Here are some of the health benefits of chives.
Chives are a low-calorie nutrient-dense food with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They have vitamins A, C, and K as well as calcium, potassium, and folate.
- Vitamin K in chives plays an important role in bone health and blood clotting. Folate plays a role in supporting cognitive functions and fetal development.
- Folate prevents birth defects in children.
- Potassium helps prevent heart-related problems including heart failure, heart attacks and high blood pressure.
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant that plays a role in boosting immune health, containing free radicals and even supporting skin health and elasticity.
Studies show that plants in the allium family including chives help prevent or fight cancer. Chives have sulfur which can deter dangerous cells from growing or spreading throughout the body. One study found that women who eat garlic and leeks had a reduced risk of developing breast cancer. Eating too much-cooked onion though could increase breast cancer risk.
Sleep and mood
Chives have a compound called choline which helps maintain the structure of cellular membranes. Choline also plays a role in mood regulation, memory, muscle control and other brain and nervous functions. One would need to consistently eat a high amount of chives to get these benefits.
Chives have compounds called lutein and zeaxanthin which are crucial for eye health. Those compounds accumulate in the retina of the eye preventing age-related macular degeneration.
Chive juice is believed to be effective in enhancing hair growth and preventing the unnecessary loss of hair.
Chives are easy to add to your diet and the most common way to use them is to chop them and add them as garnishing on cooked food. You can:
- Add them to a fresh salad
- Sprinkle them on garlic bread
- Dice them and add them to hamburger meat
- Sprinkle them on baked potatoes
- Swirl them in homemade butter
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