If you were to take the average person and ask them to identify a shallot in a group of onions, they might not be able to pull it off. While a shallot is classified as an onion, it does have a lot of distinguishable features, and at one point was its entirely own species. Many still consider shallot to be separate from onions as they also share a lot of similarities with vegetables such as leeks and garlic.
Shallots are grown in just about every region in the world, and are used in a lot of different ways. Some countries tend to fry shallots and mix them in with other foods, while some even eat them raw. Shallots aren’t as common as the typical onion here in the United States, but they really could be. They have similar nutritional values, with shallots bringing some of their own unique health benefits. Let’s take a look at what sets shallots apart from onions nutritionally, and what those benefits are.
Nutrition of Shallots
Though 100 grams is quite a large serving size of shallots (around 3.5 ounces), it gives you a better idea of just how packed in nutrients it can be. Each serving delivers just 72 calories, with 2.5 grams of protein and under 17 grams of carbohydrates. The most abundant vitamin found in shallots is vitamin A, with a quarter of your daily recommended value. There’s also plenty of vitamin C at 13 percent daily value and vitamin B6 at 17 percent.
Other vitamins found in smaller amounts around five percent include thiamin, folate, pantothenic acid and niacin. In terms of minerals, you’re getting more than 10 percent daily value in both potassium and manganese in each serving of shallots. Around five to 10 percent are minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and copper. There’s just a trace amount of fat in shallots (and no saturated fat) with zero cholesterol and five milligrams of phytosterols, making this an incredibly healthy option.
When looking at the nutrients of shallots, the first thing that really stands out is the high vitamin A content. The biggest benefit that you get from adding more vitamin A to your diet is in your vision, as you’ll be able to avoid a worsening prescription each year, as well as age related diseases. Vitamin A allows your eyes to retain moisture, while helping you see clearly at night as you adapt to all levels of light.
When we get older, we find ourselves more at risk for problems such as macular degeneration or cataracts, which can be prevented by adding more vitamin A. There’s even a benefit if you’re one of the many people that suffers from glaucoma. It’s one of the natural remedies for relieving glaucoma symptoms, even though it’s usually carrots that come to mind when you’re talking about vitamin A.
Have you ever found yourself lacking energy throughout the day, or suffer from insomnia or sudden mood swings. These might be signs that you actually just need more vitamin B6 in your diet. Vitamin B6 isn’t something that gets a whole lot of attention compared to other vitamins, but it’s essential for your brain health, and shallots contain nearly 20 percent of your daily recommended value.
Vitamin B6 is used as a natural remedy to balance the hormones in your body, which can help you control emotions. In turn, you’ll reduce stress and anxiety levels, which allows you to rest easier and fall (and stay) asleep at night, making it perfect for insomniacs. To further help you get more natural energy throughout the day, shallots contain their fair share of iron that creates red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the organs to make them function more efficiently.
Good For the Heart
Many say that the heart is the most important organ in your body because everything is linked to that one particular area. That means we need to keep our blood flowing and take care of our hearts, and eating shallots is a good way of doing just that. The minerals found within shallots are great for your blood, including the high levels of potassium and iron. These make blood circulation more efficient, giving your heart a break while clearing out sodium that can negatively affect blood pressure.
There’s also a specific compound found in shallots that you won’t get in many other places. This compound is known as allicin, which has been shown to help balance your cholesterol by lowering the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. You’ll also find crystallin in shallots, which prevents your blood from coagulating so that you lower your risk of heart attacks and other diseases that include coronary artery disease.
Watching how many calories you’re eating on a daily basis is the most surefire way to lose weight, and shallots fit into just about any calorie budget. There’s under 80 calories in a 100 gram serving of shallots, though that’s the raw count. If boiled, shallots contain around 20 calories (though there won’t be as many nutrients). This makes shallots an incredibly low calorie food that you can eat a lot of in one sitting without worrying about too many calories.
Shallots also contain a solid amount of fiber with just over three grams in each serving. While that might not sound like much, adding any sort of fiber to your diet (especially if you aren’t getting any) helps tremendously. Not only does it make your digestive system more efficient (thus increasing your metabolism), but it also satisfies your hunger so that you won’t feel the need to snack throughout the day.
A little bit earlier, we mentioned how allicin can help your heart, but it can also help you avoid other serious diseases such as cancer, as well. Allicin is the result of the many antioxidants in shallots working together, which helps fight free radicals. Free radicals can attack your cells to both form and spread cancer in your body, so shallots are a great way of making sure that you keep these in line. In fact, studies have shown that there’s a specific link between shallots and the reduction in certain cancers that include stomach and breast cancers.
Summing it Up
Looking at all of these great health benefits that shallots provide and the fat that they’re easy to find, cheap in price and low in calories, you might think that there’s a list of side effects. There will be a very small amount of people that are allergic to shallots, but most won’t find any concern. Instead, the only real side effect that you’ll have to worry about with shallots is if you’re taking medication for acid reflux or other similar issues.
The carbohydrates in shallots aren’t easily digested, which can be a problem for those with heartburn or irritable bowel syndrome. If you’re on medications to help any of these conditions, make sure to speak with a doctor beforehand to see what you can and can’t eat. With that said, adding shallots to your diet is incredibly easy and comes with all of these tremendous health benefits, so feel free to add them today and start enjoying your improved health!