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Springtime is Chive Time

The green herbs of spring are here: chives! As part of the allium family, chives are closely related to garlic, scallions and shallots [i]. These green thin stalks are hollow inside and have an onion-y taste and aroma. They can be used either fresh or dried and are wonderful in salads, vegetable side dishes or as a garnish. In addition to the green stalks, chive blossoms are also perfectly edible. These light purple flowers can either be tossed in a salad or added to any savory dish for garnishing [ii]. Besides, the garnishing aspect, chives offer various health benefits including prevention of certain cancers and mood enhancement [i]. In addition to being nutrient dense (low in calories and high in nutrients), chives are good sources of vitamins A and C, potassium, iron and calcium [i].


Cancer Prevention

Some studies have shown that a frequent intake of chives, a rich source of organosulfur compounds might reduce the risk of certain stomach cancers and prostate cancers among humans [iii] [iv]. Additionally, chives help the body to produce glutathione, an antioxidant which enables the identification and elimination of toxins and other cancer-causing substances [i].


Mood Enhancement

Chives also contain choline, an important compound needed for sleep cycle,learning and memory [i]. Choline supports the central nervous system by aiding in nerve transmission [v]. Similarly, folate, another prominent compound in chives plays a role in relieving depression by preventing the excess formation of homocysteine, a common amino acid in the body [i].


Bone Health

Vitamin K in chives helps to maintain bone integrity, density and strength by providing protection against osteoporosis, a condition for brittle bones. In fact, vitamin K assists in the production of the bone protein, osteocalcin, a vital compound for bone density [vi].


Buying and Storing Tips

Avoid yellow slimy stalks with an off smell! The greener the chives, the fresher and more flavor they will impart. As for storage, wrap cut chives in paper towels and refrigerate for no more than 3 days [i].


Chives are the ultimate nutrient packed green stalks which can be easily cultivated in small pots or bought from most farmers’ markets and grocery stores [i]. They are easy to prepare and impart a fresh flavor to a variety of savory dishes. Next time you go grocery shopping, don’t forget to buy these delicious green herbs!

Don’t miss out on our recipe of the month: Cheesy Chive Frittata.

[i] LD, Megan Ware RDN. “Chives: Health Benefits and Uses.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 24 Feb. 2017, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275009.php.
[ii] Elle. “Seasonal Spotlight: Chive Buds & Blossoms.” Elle Republic (EN), Whole Food Republic, 13 May 2016, wholefoodrepublic.com/seasonal-spotlight-chive-buds-blossoms/.
[iii] Ann W. Hsing, Anand P. Chokkalingam, Yu-Tang Gao, M. Patricia Madigan, Jie Deng, Gloria Gridley, Joseph F. Fraumeni; Allium Vegetables and Risk of Prostate Cancer: A Population-Based Study, JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Volume 94, Issue 21, 6 November 2002, Pages 1648–1651, https://doi.org/10.1093/jnci/94.21.1648
[iv] Wei-Cheng You, William J. Blot, Yuan-Sheng Chang, Abby Ershow, Zhu Tian Yang, Qi An, Brian E. Henderson, Joseph F. Fraumeni, Tian-Gen Wang; Allium Vegetables and Reduced Risk of Stomach Cancer, JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Volume 81, Issue 2, 18 January 1989, Pages 162–164, https://doi.org/10.1093/jnci/81.2.162
[v] Babcock, Jillian. “What Is Choline? Big Benefits & Signs of a Deficiency.” Dr. Axe, 12 Oct. 2017, draxe.com/what-is-choline/.
[vi] D’Berry, Lucy. “The Health Benefits of Chives.” Healthy Eating | SF Gate, 21 Nov. 2017, healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-chives-6102.html.
Jessica Iannotta, MS, RD, CSO, CDN

Jessica is a registered dietitian and certified specialist in oncology nutrition (CSO). She studied nutrition at Cornell University and completed her dietetic internship at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center. She obtained her Master's degree through the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Jessica has worked in inpatient and outpatient oncology settings since 2001 in the North Shore-LIJ Health System. Jessica is in charge of all operations including clinical and culinary operations ranging from menu development to evidence-based website content, relationships with registered dietitians and social workers and developing processes and protocols for intake, management and outcomes analysis of patients.

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