7 Impressive Benefits of Shallots

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

The impressive health benefits of shallots may include their ability to lower cholesterol levels, acts as a possible anticancer agent, provide anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral protection, lower blood pressure, help manage diabetes, soothe nerves, boost circulation, speed up digestion, and aid in weight loss efforts. [1]

What are Shallots?

Shallots are normally considered a variety of onions and they share the same species, Allium cepa. However, they are in a subspecies variety called the Aggragatium group. They are also closely related to garlic and have a similar structure of a head composed of multiple cloves. They vary in color from golden brown to rose-red, and the inner flesh is pulpy white, with some green coloring. They are probably native to Southeast Asia and moved from there into India and traveled to the Mediterranean region through trade and general crop movement. Shallots have been cultivated for thousands of years, appearing in Greek literature and history. They are also not cultivated in Africa. [2]

They offer an interesting culinary flavor to foods and can be used either fresh or as a pickled vegetable product. They taste somewhat like onions but have a slightly milder taste. However, similar to garlic and onions, shallots cause irritation in the eye when sliced. They are prepared in numerous ways, including deep-fried as a condiment in certain Asian cultures. They are valued not only for their unique flavor and availability but also for their significant nutrient value, which is actually superior to common onions in a number of ways. Let’s take a closer look at some of the nutrients that compose this versatile and popular vegetable. [3]

Couple of shallots on a wooden surface

A shallot, which is a type of onion, looks like a small, elongated onion but with a milder flavor and a hint of garlic. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition Facts

Shallots, raw
Serving Size :
Water [g]79.8
Energy 72
Energy [kJ]301
Protein [g]2.5
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.1
Ash [g]0.8
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]16.8
Fiber, total dietary [g]3.2
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]7.87
Calcium, Ca [mg]37
Iron, Fe [mg]1.2
Magnesium, Mg [mg]21
Phosphorus, P [mg]60
Potassium, K [mg]334
Sodium, Na [mg]12
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.4
Copper, Cu [mg]0.09
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.29
Selenium, Se [µg]1.2
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]8
Thiamin [mg]0.06
Riboflavin [mg]0.02
Niacin [mg]0.2
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.29
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.35
Folate, total [µg]34
Folate, food [µg]34
Folate, DFE [µg]34
Choline, total [mg]11.3
Carotene, beta [µg]3
Vitamin A, IU [IU]4
Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]8
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.04
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]0.8
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.02
16:0 [g]0.02
18:0 [g]0
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.01
18:1 [g]0.01
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.04
18:2 [g]0.04
18:3 [g]0
Phytosterols [mg]5
Tryptophan [g]0.03
Threonine [g]0.1
Isoleucine [g]0.11
Leucine [g]0.15
Lysine [g]0.13
Methionine [g]0.03
Phenylalanine [g]0.08
Tyrosine [g]0.07
Valine [g]0.11
Arginine [g]0.18
Histidine [g]0.04
Alanine [g]0.11
Aspartic acid [g]0.23
Glutamic acid [g]0.52
Glycine [g]0.12
Proline [g]0.17
Serine [g]0.11
Sources include : USDA [4]

Shallots Nutrition Facts

Shallots are rich in flavonols and polyphenolic compounds, which are actually in higher quantities in them than in onions and garlic. Furthermore, they also contain dietary fiber, protein, vitamin C, potassium, folate, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and manganese. [5]

Health Benefits of Shallots

Health benefits of shallots include the following:

May Act as Antioxidant Agents

Perhaps the best nutritional bonus of shallots is the possibly high and diverse content of antioxidant compounds, including quercetin, kaempferol, and various sulfuric antioxidants. These antioxidants are released when the cell surface is disrupted, which happens during slicing or crushing, similar to garlic. When these antioxidants are released, they can form another valuable compound called allicin. This powerful compound helps reduce cell mutation and various cancers. Studies have connected shallots to a reduction in lung and oral cancers, as well as stomach, colorectal, and breast cancer. [6]

May Help Improve Circulation & Metabolism

The mineral content of shallots is known to be typically higher than that of onions, possibly including iron, copper, and potassium. Iron and copper can help boost circulation in the body by stimulating the production of red blood cells. With more RBCs in the bloodstream, blood circulation increases, bringing more oxygen to important areas of the body while also increasing energy, vitality, cell regrowth, healing, and metabolism. [7]

May Lower Cholesterol & Improve Heart Health

Allicin, the compound formed when shallots are sliced and diced, has been directly linked to regulating cholesterol levels in the body. Allicin inhibits a reductase enzyme that is produced in the liver, which is the enzyme that controls cholesterol production. By lowering total cholesterol levels in the body, shallots can help prevent atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. [8]

May Lower Blood Pressure

The combination of potassium, a well-known possible vasodilator, and the action of allicin, which can release nitric oxide in the body, blood pressure is significantly decreased. A vasodilator relaxes the walls of the blood vessels and allows blood to flow more freely. This can prevent clotting and stress on the cardiovascular system, further boosting heart health. [9]

May Help Manage Diabetes

Two of the phytochemical compounds found in shallots, allium, and allyl disulfide, may have anti-diabetic properties. They can help regulate the levels of blood sugar in the body. This can be very helpful for diabetics who need to keep their blood sugar levels under control. Due to its nutritional values, shallots have hypoglycemic effects that can be helpful in the management of people of all age groups with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. [10]

May Soothe Nerves

The various minerals and vitamins found in shallots, including pyridoxine, can help stimulate the release of GABA in the brain, which is very important for maintaining low-stress levels and keeping the hormones in the body at the proper levels. If you want to reduce stress or relax your mind, shallots can give you a quick GABA boost. [11]

Folic acid is also found in significant quantities in shallots, which is an essential B-vitamin that can help with mental and emotional help by regulating hormonal and enzymatic reactions in the brain.

Word of Caution: There are no common allergies to shallots, like most members of that species (onions and garlic). However, rare allergies do exist, so monitor your body and consume them in moderation.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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