That scattering of bright green chives makes your food taste a little better, but they're also quite nutritious. Chives contain no fat and are low in calories, but they also supply a variety of key vitamins and minerals. You'll only get small doses of these nutrients, but they do increase the nutritional value of the seasoning.
Though not in large doses, chives do supply several essential vitamins. A 1-tablespoon serving of raw or freeze-dried chives contains 7 micrograms of vitamin A, which is 1 percent of the 700 micrograms women need each day. It's almost 1 percent of the 900 micrograms that men need on a daily basis, as well. You need vitamin A to keep your eyes healthy. Though freeze-dried chives don't contain vitamin K, a 1-tablespoon serving of raw chives supplies 6.4 micrograms of this key vitamin. That's 7 percent of the daily 90-microgram requirement for women and 5 percent of the 120 micrograms men should have. Vitamin K helps your blood clot. Chives also supply tiny amounts of folate and vitamin C.
A 1-tablespoon serving of raw chives contains 3 milligrams of calcium, and the same amount of freeze-dried chives supplies 2 milligrams. It's not much toward your daily 1,000-milligram requirement, though. You'll also get miniscule amounts of potassium, which supports a healthy heart and muscles, as well as iron for a strong immune system.
Chives contain a compound called quercetin, which is an antioxidant that helps protect your cells from damage. Quercetin also helps regulate your low-density lipoprotein, or harmful, cholesterol level, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Chives contain sulfur, as well, which promotes healthy digestion and might ward off gas, bloating and constipation, according to Charlotte Watts, author of "100 Foods to Stay Young." Watts also notes that chives might improve circulation, which supports your body's ability to move nutrients around your body.
Sprinkle chopped chives over a tossed green salad or stir them into your favorite pasta salad recipe. Scatter chopped fresh chives over grilled pork chops, chicken breasts or steak. Mash fresh chives into soft cheese, such as goat cheese, and serve the mixture with crackers for a tasty appetizer. Chives complement the flavor of scrambled eggs, soups, stews and casseroles, too.
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.