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Chives are sweet and mildly onion flavored in taste. The unopened flower buds can also be ground into a fragrant spice, but their chopped stems are commonly used. They have long, slender, hollow and tapering leaves that appear only in spring. Being a rich source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, they offer several health benefits. Here are some of the chive health benefits.
Chives are an excellent source of dietary fiber and add roughage in the intestines and colon, thus preventing constipation, indigestion and other related problems. Additionally, they contain high quantity of zinc, potassium, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and iron that aid in digestion. And 100 g fresh chives provide 2.5 g to 7% of daily-recommended levels of fiber.
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Chives contain allicin one of the most important organic compounds that lowers LDL or bad cholesterol and increase HDL or good cholesterol, thus lowering the risk of stroke and heart disease. Allicin helps to release nitric oxide that reduces stiffness in the blood vessels and flavonoids such as quercetin that decreases blood pressure. Vitamin B6 present in chives reduces the levels of homocysteine in the blood. It thus, reduces the buildup of plaque in the arteries and prevents calcification of arteries.
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It also possesses antibiotic properties like other plants of this group, thus its consumption acts as an excellent defense against common cold, flu and certain yeast infections. The natural antibacterial and antiviral agents present in chives destroy harmful microbes.
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There is a wide range of vitamins and minerals found in chives, but one of the most important is vitamin K, which helps in the maintenance of bone mineral density and bone integrity. This vitamin assists in production of a bone protein called osteocalcin that helps in preventing bone dematerialization. It thus helps to prevent bone related problems such as osteoporosis and exacerbating inflammatory conditions like arthritis.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenes that are directly responsible for reducing oxidative stress in the ocular system. This delays and prevents the appearance of cataracts in the eye and slower macular degeneration.
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The folic acid in chives is essential for the healthy development of the baby during the nine months. It prevents neural tube defects in newborn infants.
Chives help to detoxify the body by stimulating urination. It is known to also help the body to expel of excess toxins, salts, water, and even fat, thereby keeping the organ systems running smoothly and clearing out unhealthy substances from the body that could be harmful. Chives also have mildly diuretic properties, and combined with the other detoxifying qualities help the kidney to remain healthy.
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The high levels of vitamin C in chives helps to boost the immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells and collagen, both of which are essential components for creation of new blood vessels, cells, tissues, and muscles.
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Chives contain many antioxidants that can destroy free radicals and stop the growth of cancer cells and tumors. They help the body produce glutathione, an agent that enables the body to identify toxins and other cancer causing substances to eliminate them. Additionally they are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K the antioxidants present in chives contribute to prevent it as well. Research shows that they have been beneficial in treating esophageal, stomach, breast, colon, lungs, and ovaries. prostate, and gastrointestinal tract cancers.
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Chives is rich in vitamin C that helps improve the elasticity of blood capillaries and facilitates absorption of iron in the body. Additionally it also has folic acid which helps to improve blood circulation by preventing constriction of blood vessels and also prevents blood clots.
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The simple looking leaves of chives are amazingly very low in calories; 100 g of fresh leaves provide just 30 calories. Nonetheless, they contain many noteworthy antioxidants, plant fiber, minerals, and vitamins that have numerous health benefits.
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