Chives are an herb, they are also a member of the onion and garlic family. The difference between chives and green onions is that the only part of the green onion that is edible is the white onion bulb. Whereas with chives, the whole onion and the thin green stems are good additions to meats, salads, soups and casseroles. They are most commonly used in homemade dips.
However, there is more to the Chives than you may think there is. It may not seem like there is much to this herb, but the health benefits you can gain from adding chives to your meals will have you adding them to everything you can. Not only does the chive have a milder flavor than the green onion, it can also be used as an insect repellent.
Does all of this make it more important to incorporate into your foods? If not, keep reading and we will highlight some of the many benefits that can be gotten from chives. As a side note, chives can be used in place of green onions in most recipes. This will help to increase your intake of Chives.
The juice from the chives can indeed be used to repel those nasty insects from crawling on you. This alone makes it an ideal plant to be putting in the garden this year.
The chive may seem to be a small food, but it packs a punch when it comes to Vitamins. Chives are loaded with Vitamins A, C, and K. There is also manganese and folate found in the chives. Chives will also help to protect your heart, as they have quercetin, which is an antioxidant. In fact, 1 tablespoon of chopped chives only has one calorie.
Ailments or Diseases
Historically, Chives have been used to improve male fertility. There is no definitive proof that chives help to increase the male fertility though. Some other conditions, diseases or ailments that chives have been shown to be beneficial for are numerous for something that seems so tiny.
There are compounds found in chives, including sulfur, that have been shown to help prevent or fight against cancers. The studies that have been completed, have shown that sulfur and the other compounds can slow the growth of cancer cells and help fight it traveling to other areas of the body.
The Vitamin K found in chives helps to combat Osteoporosis. This is a disease that affects the bones by thinning them and making them weaker. Asia is found to utilize Vitamin K in chives to help treat Osteoporosis.
All areas suggest that children and infants have Vitamin K to help build strong bones and teeth. It is also shown to have an impact with Osteoporosis in the older years. The Vitamin A and K together, work in conjunction to help strengthen the bones.
Memory and Cognitive Issues
Chives contain folate and choline. On their own, each is known to help improve memory function. Together, they can help fight the memory issues that affect many people. Studies have shown that the adults who had more choline in their daily diets had improved memory and better results on cognitive tests.
Folate, or folic acid, was used in studies in regards to cognitive disorders and some mood disorders. The combination of these two nutrients found in chives work together and have shown to be of help improving the memory and helping to prevent the symptoms and development of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Sleep and Bone Health and More
As stated, Chives contain choline and folate. These work together to help strengthen bones. The choline also helps a person to have improved mood and memory, muscle control and other brain and nervous system functions. The choline is also believed to improve sleep and help maintain cellular structures.
Vitamin K is important for bone health and helping the blood clot when it is supposed to, Chives also contain lutein and carotenoids. Some research shows that the lutein and the carotenoids can build up in the eye and help prevent early or age related macular degeneration. Eating foods such as chives means you are helping your eyesight as well.
Although not a common allergy source, there is a chance that some people who are allergic to other allium plants may have a reaction to chives. Those people with food allergies should speak to their medical Physician before adding chives to their foods.
Another note of information is that chives can cause stomach upset. The chives can be eaten in small quantities. One serving is 1 tablespoon of chopped chives.
When it comes to helping fight cancer, a person would have to eat a much larger quantity of chives than a one serving amount, in order to reap benefits from the Chives.
Other Uses For Chive Plants
The chive is not just a tasty herb that adds flavor to soups, casseroles, dips and even drinks. The chive plant itself is also beneficial for your home. This little plant does not need much from you, a little water and some weeding is all it will take for the chive to give you at least ten uses. The top ten uses for chive around the home include:
- The chive and its purple flowers will enhance any outdoor garden. For example, if you were to plant an herb garden, the purple flowers will create a beautiful display. The chive plant is actually quite an ornamental plant.
- Using chives will help prevent soil erosion. When planted in rock gardens or on hills with rocks, this will prevent soil erosion.
- Chives will attract bees, so if you want bees around to continue pollinating your flowers, plants and trees, plant chives that the bees can enjoy. Bee pollination encourages healthy plants, chives planted in the garden will attract the bees to other plants to pollinate. The bees will also discourage other pests and plant diseases.
- The juice from chives can be used as an insect repellent.
- Add chives to your summer drinks to add a great boost of flavor. Freeze the purple flower into individual ice cubes and they also add color to a drink.
- Chives can be used in all foods to add flavor and color. The chives have a mild, fresh onion flavor, just enough without overwhelming the foods. If added to hot foods, they should be sprinkle on the top just before serving so they retain the fresh, mild flavor and the bright green color.
- If you plant enough, you can store the chives for use throughout the winter. These can be frozen or sliced and dried. The best method is to slice or chop the chives, lay them out flat on a baking sheet and then freeze. Once they are frozen, you can put them into freezer safe bags to be used a little at a time. They will last all winter long, just thaw before use.
- Even the Purple flowers from the tops of the Chive plant are edible. There is no waste of food with this plant. The flowers should be eaten before they have set to seed. This will add a spicy hot flavor to the foods such as a salad. You could even add bits of the flower to white vinegar which will give an amazing flavor to the vinegar.
- You can add the chive to increase the beauty of flower or plant arrangements. When cut, the Chive flower stem will hold its rigidity, this makes it perfect to add a calming lavender color to other flower or plant arrangements.
- You can give Chives as gifts. As the flower begins to dry, the black seeds will fall out. These seeds can then be used to plant more chives, so the person will have a non-ending supply.
- You could sell the excess chives that you grow. There are many that love fresh chives and would be there to buy some or at the Farmer’s Market. Chives can be grown in abundance. You could make calls and find a local restaurant that would love to purchase your plentiful load of chives. Not only will you make some money, you will likely save others money too.
As shown, chives are an easily grown item that produces great flavor, beauty, and can even be gifted. Once gifted, your recipient will have their own supply of chives. However, beauty does not and cannot outweigh the possible health benefits that can be attained by incorporating chives into your foods.
You can mix chives with cream cheese for a morning bagel, add a hint of flavor to salads for lunch, and create a delicious and beautiful look to a meal garnished with chives. The whole while you will know that you are helping keep your family healthy by providing some needed Vitamins and nutrients. They do not even need to know you are doing so.
The simple garden item that so many are willing to ignore and not plant can provide so much for your family. Chives should be on a list of superfoods.