Shallots are long, thin bulbs like vegetable. They are smaller in size and grow in clusters of bulbs in the root system. The bulbs have a mild pungent taste and a distinct smell as compared to onions and garlic. This is a popular ingredient used by the chefs around the world. Besides adding flavour to your dishes, shallots have various health benefits and a high nutrient content. They’re also great for your hair and are widely used as an ingredient in hair treatment products.
Shallots belong to the onion and allium family. They contain vital nutrients like vitamins B & C, calcium, iron and potassium. There are many varieties of shallots such as French Grey Shallot or Griselle Genus Allium Oschaninii, Pink Shallot or Jersey Shallot, Banana Shallot, Green shallot.
Benefits of Shallots:
Shallots contain iron which is required for proper functioning of your red blood cells. Healthy red blood cells contain a good amount of hemoglobin that helps them transfer oxygen from the lungs to the other tissues of your body. It is also essential for your proper metabolism, brain function and to make your tissues strong.
1 cup of shallots can provide 1.9 milligrams of iron that gives 24 percent of the daily required iron intake for men and 11% for women.
Shallots help in a healthy digestion. Due to its dietary fiber content, it absorbs water and fills your stomach after a meal. It slowly releases sugar in your bloodstream and helps soften the stool, thus preventing constipation. It is also useful in reducing the blood cholesterol levels, preventing many heart diseases.
One cup of shallots can provide 5.1 grams of dietary fiber that is 20 percent of the daily required fiber for women and 13% for men.
Shallots are a rich source of potassium. One cup of shallots can provide 534 milligrams of potassium that is 11% of your daily required intake.
Potassium is useful to regulate the body’s fluid levels. It also aids in the proper functioning of nerve and muscle cells. This helps the metabolism by breaking down carbohydrates into required body fuel. Potassium helps in maintaining a healthy heart by lowering blood pressure. Deficiency of potassium can lead to cramps and weakness in the muscle.
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4. Cooking with Shallots:
Shallots are commonly used in cooking, hence they are cultivated extensively. They are used as a condiment in various Asian cuisines in a finely sliced or deep-fried form. Shallots are costlier than onions and are popularly used in cuisines like Malaysian and Thai. Benefits of shallots’ nutrients can be gained by adding them directly to your dish, sautéing, adding to pastas. Fresh shallots can be combined with fruits and vegetables for salsas. Add them to your salads, pizzas, sandwiches and wraps as caramelized shallots. You can also grill, roast, bake, fry, blanch, pickle or boil them. Shallots can also be substituted with onions.
5. Heart Health:
One of the most spoken of health benefits of shallots is that they are excellent for the blood and help prevent heart disease. Cycloallin, an anticoagulant, is found in shallots that are useful to protect your body against heart disease. It contains allicicn that can block platelet clot formation in your blood vessels to decrease peripheral vascular diseases (PVD), coronary artery disease (CAD), and stroke. They are helpful in producing an anti-coagulant, which thins the blood to cure symptoms of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, atherosclerotic disease, and stroke.
6. Strong Immune System:
Shallots can strengthen your immune system efficiently. Consume them daily to prevent and cure cold, flu and other illnesses.
7. Low in Calories:
Shallots contain very less amount of calories and loads of nutrients. Calories in a shallot depend on its cooking procedure. If you’re on a diet, you can add shallots to bland foods and enjoy the delicious flavor without piling on calories. 2 tbsp shallots provide just 14 calories. There are 19 calories present in 100 grams of boiled shallots.
Shallots contain more nutrition than onions. They have more anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins and flavonoid anti-oxidants like quercetin and kemferfol.
9. Healing Power:
Along with various antioxidants, shallots contain sulphur anti-oxidant compounds like diallyl trisulfide, diallyl disulfide, and allyl propyl disulfide. Shallots also have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties.
10. Reduces Cholesterol:
Allicin present in shallots can be useful to reduce cholesterol production. They inhibit HMG-coa reductase enzyme into your liver cells.
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11. Lowers High Blood Pressure:
Allicin in shallots is helpful in decreasing blood vessel stiffness, as they release vasodialator chemical nitric oxide (NO) that lowers the high blood pressure.