Benefits of Scallions That Will Blow Your Mind

benefits of scallions

Scallions go by many names including spring onions, green onions and green garlic. They belong to the allium family of root vegetables that include additional flavorful members like onions, shallots, leeks and garlic. Allium vegetables are termed as such due to a powerful healing substance found in them called allicin.

Scallions are essentially onions that are harvested prematurely before bulbs begin to form. Because they are harvested young, their flavor is mild enough to be eaten raw unlike many of their more pungent onion cousins. Nowadays, the scallion is a popular ingredient in many cuisines around the world, and it tends to make a flavorful addition to most savory dishes.

Although originally cultivated in Asia, green onions made their way to the rest of the world through the trade routes to Egypt. Alongside other alliums, scallions quickly became a vital food source and herbal medicine for many cultures in the Middle East and Europe. Interestingly, they are considered a poor food for the spiritual health of Buddhists, orthodox Brahmins and Hindu widows because of their strong smell, and stimulating effects.

Just as the allium family has a strong culinary history, they have an equally strong medicinal history. If onions were cultivated or foraged, they were ultimately used to treat a series of health issues around the world.

Nutritional Value of Scallions

As with all vegetables, scallions are low in calories and fat free while also providing a bit of fiber. This fine herb also contains folate, calcium, iron and vitamins A, C, K and some B-6. Vitamin B-6 is needed for proper functioning of many enzymes in the body. Vitamin B-6 helps the body produce neurotransmitters that are involved in sleep and mood disposition. Vitamin K is the most plentiful vitamin found in scallions and coupled with allicin, it is crucial for proper blood clotting and maintenance of the density and strength of bones. The vitamin A found in scallions exists in the form of carotenoids, which are accountable for the plant’s green color. Beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin are all carotenoids found in scallions.

Quercetin, the most famous antioxidant found in all onions offers anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine benefits, as well as lowering the risk of heart disease and easing the symptoms of allergy. Scallions are also a rich source of vitamin C, manganese, potassium, copper, and contain a small amount of vitamin E. These elements support a strong immune system, and help fend off illness and disease.

Health Benefits of Scallions

1.  Lowers Blood Sugar

Scallions contain a property called allyl propyl disulfide which is well known for its ability to reduce blood sugar levels. They also contain roughly 20% of a person’s required daily value of the trace mineral called chromium. Chromium is vital for regulating insulin within the blood, and has been found to reduce resting glucose levels, lower insulin levels, and decrease overall cholesterol levels.

2.  Immune Health

Scallions contain a trace mineral called selenium, which is important for promoting immune health. Selenium can be toxic in high levels, which is why it’s typically not recommended to take it as a dietary supplement, however it is completely safe to consume dietary sources of selenium such as garlic, leeks, and green onions because it would be nearly impossible to consume too much selenium from these sources. Selenium is required for the production of white blood cells, which are important for fighting off illness.

3.  Heart Health

Chinese researchers published an extremely interesting study comparing the life expectancy and health of two different villages in rural China; one farmed and ate onions, the other on the whole did not. Overtime, it was found that people in the non-onion eating village were at higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease. This has paved the way for further research into the ability of the allium family to maintain heart health. Scallions also contain sulfur compounds which target the level of a compound called homocysteine, known to be linked to heart related illness.

4.  Antiviral and Antibacterial Properties

The powerful phytonutrient contained in scallions called allicin is what gives it its antiviral properties and makes it useful in fighting off colds and flu viruses. Although its mechanisms were not understood in medieval times, it was often used in medicinal concoctions to prevent or treat viral infections. A very exciting scientific accident happened recently when two researchers in England recreated a rather strange but historically accurate recipe from 9th century that contained alliums. The end result was able to effectively kill a superbug that has been resistant to all modern treatment. This ancient recipe included wine, oxblood and alliums!

5.  Alleviates Menstrual Pain

Menstrual pain or dysmenorrhea, are sharp pains that occur in a woman’s lower abdomen when her menstrual period starts. These pains can range from mild to very severe and can last for days. The soothing power of scallions in relation to menstrual cramps has a long history within Traditional Chinese Medicine. According to these methods, during times of dysmenorrhea, women should avoid cooling foods (such as cucumbers, and melons) and instead ingest more heating foods like garlic and onions. It is thought that through consumption of foods which induce heat, it will prevent stagnation of blood flow, and reduce a cooling of the reproductive organs.

6.  Blood Thinner

Onions are linked to a thinning of the blood, which although can be dangerous in combination with other medications, is important for people at risk of cardiovascular disease. According to the University of Wisconsin, “Onion consumption and specific onion compounds affect the in vivo aggregation of blood platelets.” This means that it is able, at least in laboratory studies, to prevent the clogging of arteries and veins. According to the research, the higher the pungency, the higher the anti-platelet activity.


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