When it comes to the many different varieties of onions, people can get a bit confused as to what the differences are. Part of the onion family, the scallion was picked at a young age, so it doesn’t have quite as strong of a taste as the standard onion. Scallions are similar to leeks, chive and garlic, though they all have different taste. For ages, scallions have been used in cooking, especially for those that don’t like the stronger scent and taste that onions have.
Every part of the world has their preference for eating scallions, with some cultures using them in salsas or soups while others are using scallions for sandwiches and stir fry. There aren’t any wrong ways to eat scallions, mainly because of the fantastic health benefits. So what is it about the scallion that makes it a superfood? Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional breakdown and the proven health benefits you get from eating scallions in your diet.
Nutrition of Scallions
It’s always nice to find a food that allows you to get a lot of nutrition without having to take in a lot of calories, and scallions are one of those foods. With just over 30 calories per one cup serving, you get almost two grams of protein and 10 percent of your daily recommendation for dietary fiber. In terms of vitamins, the one that really stands out is vitamin K, with more than 250 percent of your daily recommendation.
Scallions also contain 30 percent of your daily vitamin C, 20 percent of vitamin A and 16 percent of folate values. Other vitamins found in smaller amounts (about five to 10 percent) include vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin B6. As for the minerals, most fall in the same five to 10 percent category. The most significant ones that you’ll find include manganese, potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium. There’s also no cholesterol in scallions, and just a trace amount of fat.
For those that don’t eat a lot of vegetables, you might not be getting nearly enough vitamin K in your diet. Vitamin K can be hard to come by, even if you’re eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables. With well over 200 percent of your daily recommendation for vitamin K, scallions provide a huge boost that you need, and the biggest benefit comes for your bones. The reason for that is because vitamin K works as bonding agent that combines minerals such as calcium into your bones.
People tend to think of calcium when associating bone health, but vitamin K is just as important so that your body is using the calcium that you get. Studies have shown that people who get enough vitamin K in their diet increase bone mass, reverse the signs of bone loss and are at a much lower risk for fractures. This is especially true in elderly people who have already been diagnosed with osteoporosis.
The Thinning Plant
Moving around will be a lot easier on your bones if you’re able to manage your weight, as well, which is something you can do with scallions. With only about 30 calories in each serving, scallions can certainly fit into a weight loss plan’s calorie count. You get an added benefit from eating scallions due to the high amount of fiber, which will allow you to feel more full throughout the day.
That fiber also gives a boost to your digestive system, making it more efficient, giving a slight boost to your metabolism. Replacing one serving of scallions for a 200 calorie snack will end up saving you 170 calories per day. That adds up big time, meaning that you can lose nearly 18 pounds of fat in one year from that daily switch.
Like many of the other foods in its family, scallions are packed to the brim with antioxidants to keep you healthy. This includes vitamin C, which scallions have a healthy amount of. When working with other antioxidants such as quercetin, your body will be able to fight off foreign invaders, produce more white blood cells and fend off free radicals. Free radicals can cause a wide range of problems that include cancer.
One of the biggest cancer fighters found in scallions is flavonoid, which has been shown to inhibit the production of free radicals. There are certain types of cancers that studies say scallions are very effective against, including both colon and lung cancers. Whether you need a slight boost to get through an illness or a long term fight against disease, scallions are the way to go.
Good For the Heart
We mentioned how much vitamin K can help your bones, but it’s also an important nutrient to get for your heart. A proper amount of vitamin K in your system prevents your arteries from hardening, cutting down your chances of heart failure. The fact that it can bind calcium is an added benefit since it gets out of your bloodstream and into your bones. Other antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in scallions further prevent chances of heart failure.
Overall, your blood will be able to flow much more efficiently, which even gives you an energy boost. Studies have shown that because of this, you can regulate your blood pressure and reduce your chances of hypertension. As for cholesterol levels, there haven’t been many studies done so far, but it’s believed that there is a positive link.
Seeing (And Looking) Well
Scallions are high in both vitamin A and vitamin C, which are essential for your skin’s health. These antioxidants fight off the free radicals to prevent you from early signs of aging, while also giving you a younger and more vibrant look. You don’t need collagen injections, as vitamin C allows your body to produce collagen naturally and make your skin more elastic.
Vitamin A has an added benefit of being the most important vitamin for your vision. People who get enough vitamin A in their diet reduce their chances of age related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Vitamin A also keeps your vision strong so that you don’t have to get stronger prescriptions for lenses each year.
Summing it Up
Scallions add up for a lot of nutrition and health benefits, which might leave you wondering if there’s a catch to adding them to your diet. People that are allergic to similar foods such as onions will find some problems with scallions, but that comes with the territory. For most people, the side effects of adding more scallions are very minimal. Some people have experienced minor digestive problems that include heartburn or gas when eating them raw.
Because of the high amount of vitamin K in scallions, you’ll want to avoid them if you’re taking blood thinning medication. Outside of those details, scallions are almost entirely safe to eat, just make sure you’re washing and preparing them the right way. Scallions can tend to get pretty dirty (which is the case with most produce) so a solid rinse will ensure good food safety. Since they’re also easy to find, you can add scallions to your diet and start enjoying the amazing health benefits today!