Staying healthy with nutrition should not be complicated if we eat foods that look like they are supposed to in Nature! In Spring, this ideal becomes much more of a possibility as green shoots emerge everywhere. Herbs are a brilliant way to incorporate some really very valuable nutrients into our diet, and they can be as simple as bright green bunch of chives.
By April, chives are already starting to produce flower buds, and the more you cut them, the more they will grow. If you have them in the garden, leave the flowers for the bees, although you can steal the odd one for a salad garnish. As part of the Allium family, with onions, leeks, shallots and our year-long friend garlic, chives are a good anti-bacterial and antiseptic herb that can be added to everything from scrambled eggs and quiches, salads and soups. You can even make a warming chive tea.
It’s the pungency of the onion family that gives them their medicinal qualities, so it’s best to eat them as raw as possible if you can get away with it. They are super rich in sulphur, a warming element that helps the body with its natural detoxification, notably through the liver. Cruciferous vegetables are great for the liver too. Chives can alleviate water retention, help the body get rid of urea, mucus from the lungs and even alleviate the symptoms of arthritis.
All of the Alliums have the potential to help clean the arteries, lower cholesterol and retard the growth of viruses, yeasts and other pathogens on a daily basis. They also contain FOS (fructo-oligo-saccharides) - valuable pre-biotics which reach the large intestine undigested and provide a really useful ‘lunch’ for the good bacteria in our microbiome. These lactic-acid producing bacteria keep the colon free of disease and promote a healthy immune system, as well as helping keep our bowel regular and toxin free.
And of course they contain vitamins A, B, C, calming magnesium, antioxidant bioflavonoids and other minerals such as phosphorus and potassium.
If you are feeling under the weather, try a Chive and Ginger Broth. Simply boil up a large handful of chives, a knob of ginger sliced, a little garlic and a pinch of black pepper in some stock or water and sip, with a little sesame oil drizzled on top to taste.