The Nutritional and Health Advantages of Adding Shallots to Your Diet

Are you tired of eating the same old vegetables? Consider adding shallots to your diet. Shallots, an onion family member, are often overlooked in nutrition despite their impressive health benefits.

These small but mighty vegetables are packed with essential nutrients, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds that can improve your overall health and well-being. Join us as we delve into how shallots can benefit your health.

The Nutritional Composition of Shallots

Shallots belong to the same family as leeks, chives, garlic, and onions. Although they resemble red onions on the outside, they look quite different when you cut them open.

According to the USDA, 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of chopped shallots provide:

  • Calories: 75
  • Protein: 2.5 g
  • Carbs: 17 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Folate: 9% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Iron: 7% of the DV
  • Potassium: 7% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 5% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 5% of the DV
  • Zinc: 4% of the DV
  • Calcium: 3% of the DV

Shallots contain more protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals than onions. They’re also packed with powerful antioxidants and organosulfur compounds responsible for most of their health benefits.

The Health Benefits of Shallots

Incorporating shallots into your meals offers some health benefits, such as:

Relieve Allergy Symptoms

During an allergic reaction, your cells release histamine, which causes symptoms like tissue swelling, itchiness, and watery eyes. Shallots are high in quercetin, a plant flavonoid that may help alleviate seasonal allergy symptoms.

Quercetin also has antihistamine properties, which prevent your cells from releasing histamine and reduce the severity of inflammatory and respiratory reactions such as allergic asthma and seasonal allergies. Quercetin is a common primary ingredient in a wide range of seasonal allergy medications and supplements used to treat mild allergy symptoms in the eyes and nose.

Antibacterial Properties

According to studies, the organosulfur compounds found in shallots and other Allium vegetables have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Due to this, many people use alliums to make traditional medicine to treat colds, fevers, coughs, and flu.

Following an observational study in which adults with allergies took shallot extract for four weeks, scientists found that 62.5% of the participants experienced reduced symptoms. Another study found that applying a shallot extract solution to new cold sores every hour could shorten their duration.

In addition, researchers discovered that a single 15-second mouth rinse with shallot extract and water is more effective than chlorhexidine at preventing bacterial activity in the mouth.

Improved Heart Health

The organosulfur compounds in shallots may also benefit your heart and increase blood circulation, lowering your risk of heart disease. Shallots are high in thiosulfinates, a class of organosulfur compounds that prevent blood clot formation.

Furthermore, allicin, another organosulfur compound in shallots, reduces stiffness in your blood vessels by aiding the release of nitric acid and improving blood circulation. This compound may even help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol.

One study comparing allium vegetables found that shallot and garlic were most helpful at preventing blood clots due to their quercetin and allicin contents. Shallots may reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering the levels of harmful fats in your blood system.

Helps Manage Diabetes

People with diabetes may benefit from eating shallots because they may have anti-diabetic properties. These vegetables can help regulate blood sugar levels in the body, which is quite helpful for diabetics. 

A recent study found that consuming shallots significantly decreased fasting blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Another study showed that certain compounds in shallots may help stimulate insulin production, an essential hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Soothe Nerves

Shallots contain pyridoxine and other vitamins and minerals that can help stimulate the release of GABA in the brain.GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, and it is essential for maintaining low stress levels. It also helps regulate other hormones in the body.

Shallots also supply folate, another important vitamin for your nerves. Folate helps improve your mental and emotional state by regulating hormonal and enzymatic reactions in the brain. Research shows that folate deficiency can have adverse effects on brain function, including impaired cognitive function, depression, and an increased risk of dementia.

How to Incorporate Shallots Into Your Diet

Shallots are versatile ingredients that can add flavor and nutrition to various dishes. Here are some tips on how to incorporate them into your diet:

  • Use shallots in recipes in place of onions or garlic. Shallots have a mild and sweet flavor that can add depth to soups, stews, and sauces.
  • Use shallots in salad dressings. Finely mince them and add them to vinaigrettes for an extra layer of flavor.
  • Sauté shallots with vegetables for a quick and easy side dish. They pair well with green beans, mushrooms, and asparagus.

Bottom Line

Overall, shallots are delicious and versatile, providing numerous health benefits. Whether you want to improve your overall health, prevent chronic diseases, or simply add more flavor to your meals, shallots are an excellent choice that can help you achieve your goals.