Scallions, also known as spring or green onions, are a member of the allium family of edible herbs. While onions, shallots, and garlic are grown for their bulbs, scallions aren’t left to produce large bulbs. People tend to use the green, tubular leaves of the scallion, as well as the small bulb. These have a milder flavor and are popular in Asian cuisine. Scallions have similar health benefits to other alliums and herbs. Still, there are a number of health benefits unique to scallions. We will take a look at scallions health benefits, nutritional value, and uses.
Scallions Health Benefits
Scallions contain an organosulphur compound called allicin. This compound is also present in garlic and onions. Allicin seems to have many healing properties. Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of allicin, and by extension, scallions.
The allicin in scallions releases nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a chemical compound doctors often use to relax blood vessels in an effort to control or prevent a heart attack. Thus, by using of allicin, you can keep blood pressure in check. Allicin is also known for its ability to reduce blood clots and decrease the risk for coronary artery disease and strokes. In addition, studies have shown that allicin can reduce cholesterol. Scallions also contain quercetin, which is commonly used to decrease inflammation and lower blood sugar levels.
Anti-viral and Anti-bacterial
Allicin contains anti-microbial properties. It is effective in fighting off the flu and the common cold. Scallion infusions can help soothe sore throats and ease the symptoms of viruses. Allicin is often given to people with gastrointestinal viruses or parasitic infections. It has been used effectively as a support to those being treated for Lyme Disease and Candidiasis.
In traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that dysmenorrhea is a result of a cold constitution. Scallions are very warming. Women with menstrual pain can benefit from eating dishes that include scallions to bring more heat into their bodies.
May Protect Against Certain Forms of Cancer
Scallions contains high levels of antioxidants. These include zaxanthin, lutein, and carotenes. In addition, scallions also contain vitamin A. Together, these substances help protect our bodies from lung and oral cancer.
The high amounts of vitamins C and K make scallions health benefits more impressive for supporting our bones and brains. Scallions contain 172% of the RDA of vitamin K. Vitamin K has been shown to play an important role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Scallions Nutritional Value
Scallions are very low in calories, yet the leaves have good amounts of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are a good source of nutrients. Add to that the fact that scallions do not contain any cholesterol or saturated fat. They are mainly plant fiber, water, carbohydrates, and a little protein. Here are some of the nutrient qualities of scallions.
Scallions supply 16% of the RDA of folates. Folates are an essential component of DNA synthesis in unborn babies, making scallions a good food choice for expectant mothers.
The vitamin A in scallions is 33% of the RDA. This helps protect our bodies from lung and oral cancers. Vitamin A is also necessary for maintaining healthy eyesight, clear skin, and healthy mucous membranes. This vitamin has carotenoid antioxidant properties.
Scallions contain 31% of the RDA of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that is useful in protecting us from the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals contribute to disease and pre-mature aging.
As previously mentioned, vitamin K is available in high amounts in scallions, making it one of the best of scallions health benefits. Vitamin K helps in the formation of bone mass, and is a great support for neural development and brain health.
Iron is in good supply in scallions. While herbs are not a great source of iron, plant-based iron sources play a role in your ability to metabolize iron from other sources. A good way to benefit from the iron in scallions is to pair them in a dish with animal or grain sources of iron for a better metabolization of this essential mineral.
When we think of scallion uses, we generally think of using them as a cooking ingredient. However, to take advantage of the numerous scallions health benefits, people have devised numerous other ways to use them. In some cultures, scallions are used in hot compresses to relieve sore throats, nasal congestion, and cold constitutions. Though, the greatest benefits you can receive from scallions is by using them in recipes. They can be eaten raw or cooked in a variety of ways. Here are some that you might want to try.
Raw Scallion Dressing
1/2 cup minced scallions
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 TBS brown or Dijon mustard
1 TBS pure maple syrup
2 minced garlic cloves
Salt and pepper to taste
Blend all of the ingredients until almost creamy and enjoy over greens and other raw vegetables.
Congee is a rice porridge that is prepared by cooking rice for several hours. It is used in Oriental Medicine as a healing dish for various health conditions. It is one of the most comforting and soothing dishes you can eat. Various proteins, vegetables, and herbs are added, depending on what condition you are treating. Congee made with chicken, ginger, and scallions is good for warming the interior and helping with the symptoms of the common cold.
Scallion Tea is another good remedy for colds and flu. This recipe is adapted from one published in the Washington Post.
3 slices fresh ginger root
3 scallions minced, mostly white parts
1 teaspoon raw honey
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup water
Place the ginger slices and scallions in a small pot and add the sweetener, sea salt, and water. Bring to a boil , then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes. Strain and serve hot.
Scallions are perfect additions to stir-fry dishes, eggs, savory pancakes, soups, dips, and salads. To get the most of scallions health benefits, incorporate them in as many dishes as possible.
Scallions are available in the spring and summer. They are often referred to as baby onions. Despite the nickname, scallions are not immature in flavor and heat. Scallions health benefits have well-known and appreciated for centuries in Asia. They are also cultivated by westerners for their superb culinary benefits. We can all benefit nutritionally by using more scallions in our diets.