|photo via redcook.net|
Interesting little tidbit about chives (particularly interesting if you are a gardener): Chives are beneficial to rose bushes, since they emit an odor which discourages aphids. I love this sort of thing as it pertains to growing. People into organic and biodynamic farming have devoted themselves to learning the natural ways to prevent "pests" and to work in harmony with plants and animals to grow healthily and bountifully.
As usual--when you eat fresh produce from the earth in the form of greens, roots, etc.(especially if it has been grown free of pesticides, sustainably, etc) --you're doing yourself a big favor. Not just in flavor, but in health benefits. And eating chives is no exception.
Allium herbs were popular among the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. The strong odor, so typical of these herbs, is due to a variety of sulfur compounds, such as alkyl sulfoxides and allyl sulfides. These are all reported to have beneficial effects on the circulatory, digestive and respiratory systems.
I found these interesting attributes on nutrition-and-you.com and the vegetarian nutrition link listed below:
Like in scallions, they contain more
derived dietary fiber
than fellow allium members like onions, shallots, leeks. . . etc.
fresh leaves provide 2.5 g or 7% of daily-recommended
of dietary fiber.
Like other allium members,
they too possess
thio-sulfinites anti-oxidants. Thio-sufinites
such as diallyl
disulfide, diallyl trisulfide and allyl propyl disulfide
convert to allicin
by enzymatic reaction when its leaves disrupted (crushing,
cutting etc). Laboratory studies
show that allicin
reduces cholesterol production by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase
enzyme in the liver cells. Further, it also found to have
anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal activities.
Allicin also decreases
blood vessel stiffness by release of nitric oxide (NO); thereby bring
reduction in the total blood pressure. It also blocks platelet clot
formation and has fibrinolytic action in the blood vessels, which helps
decrease overall risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), peripheral
vascular diseases (PVD), and stroke.
Chives have exceptionally more vitamin A than
any other allium family member vegetables.100 g of fresh leaves contain
4353 IU of vitamin-A or 145% of daily recommended levels. In addition,
their green leaves have other flavonoid
phenolic anti-oxidants such as
carotenes, zeaxanthin, and lutein. Together, they help body protect
from lung and oral cavity cancers.
They also have some other essential
vitamins such as vitamin C and K. In fact, chives are one of the
richest sources of vitamin
K, slightly more than that of scallions. 100 g of fresh
greens provide 212.7 µg
about 177% of daily recommended
intake. Vitamin K has
potential role in bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation
activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet
helps limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has established role
in the treatment of Alzheimer's
Fresh chives are rich source of folates.100 g
fresh leaves provide 105 µg or 26% of DRI of folates. Folic acid is
essential for DNA synthesis and cell division. Adequate folate levels
the diet during pregnancy may help prevent neural tube defects in the
Furthermore, the leaves are packed with other
vitamins as well as some essential minerals such as copper, iron,
manganese, zinc, and calcium. The leafy greens contain several vital
as pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and
Population studies have shown that a higher intake of allium vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of several types of cancers. The organosulfur compounds they contain inhibit tumor growth and cell proliferation, and arrest the cell cycle in tumor cells. Allium vegetables, including chives, especially have a protective effect against both esophageal and stomach cancer as well as prostate cancer. The highest antioxidant activity in chives is observed in the leaves, which are also rich in flavonoids.
Like most herbs (dare I say all?) chives are best when fresh--more flavor, more nutrition. Personally I love sauteed tofu and use it as a base for so many meals. Try some tofu sprinkled generously with chopped chives. (Add a little cilantro while you're at it. . . Go crazy!)