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You may know it as 'small onions'. Shallots, scientifically termed as Allium cepa var. aggregatum is considered a variety of onions, mainly because of the appearance and of the same species, Allium cepa. Shallots are related to garlic and vary in colour from golden brown to rose-red.
Having been cultivated for thousands of years, shallots are mentioned in various Greek literature and history. The versatility of the vegetable makes it a popular one, it can be added to salads or be made into pickles.
The distinct flavour of shallots are favoured all around the world and is widely used in French and South Asian cuisines. However, it is not just these properties of the vegetable that makes it a favourite. Packed with various nutrients, this amazing little cousin of onion can help speed up digestion, manage diabetes, improve blood circulation and much more   .
Interested? Read on to know the health benefits possessed by shallots and the ways you can incorporate them into your daily diet.
Nutritional Value Of Shallots
100 g of shallots contain 72 calories of energy. The remaining nutrients are mentioned below  :
- 16.8 g carbohydrates
- 3.2 g total dietary fibre
- 7.87 g sugar
- 79.8 g water
- 2.5 g protein
- 37 mg calcium
- 1.2 mg iron
- 21 mg magnesium
- 60 mg phosphorus
- 334 mg potassium
- 12 mg sodium
Health Benefits Of Shallots
1. Improve blood circulation
Rich in iron, copper, and potassium, consuming shallots can help stimulate the production of red blood cells. This in turn help in improving your blood circulation, transportation of more oxygen to important areas of the body, improving energy levels and also improve cell regrowth  .
2. Manage cholesterol
Shallots contain a compound called allicin, which can help manage the cholesterol levels in your body. The compounds produce an enzyme called reductase (produced in the liver) which can help in controlling the cholesterol production  .
3. Improve heart health
As aforementioned, shallots are rich in allicin and thereby help in managing the cholesterol levels in your body. This property helps in improving your heart health because low levels of cholesterol in the body can help prevent the onset of atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes  .
4. Reduce blood pressure
Rich in potassium and allicin, the combination of these two act as a vasodilator, promoting the release of nitric oxide in the body - directly impacting the high blood pressure levels. Potassium helps in relaxing the walls of the blood vessels and promotes free blood flow  .
5. Control diabetes
Allium and allyl disulfide, two phytochemical compounds found in shallots possess anti-diabetic properties. These compounds help in managing and regulating the levels of blood sugar in the body.
6. Enhance brain function
Gamma-aminobutyric acid present in shallots is a key neurotransmitter which has a direct impact on relaxing your brain. Also, various minerals and vitamins found in shallots, including pyridoxine promote the same function, calming your nerves and providing relief from stress  .
7. Maintain bone density
Shallots are rich in calcium, which makes them beneficial for not only maintaining but also improving your bone density. Consuming shallots regularly can be exceptionally good for your bone health  .
Apart from these benefits, shallots are exceptionally good for hair growth and also for your skin.
Healthy Shallot Recipes
1. Green beans with caramelized shallots and almonds
- 10-12 fresh green beans
- 1 shallot bulb, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- sea salt, to taste
- fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons toasted almond slices
- Heat a large dry skillet over medium heat, add almond slices and cook until toasted.
- In another pan, add coconut oil and heat over high heat until melted.
- Add in shallot slices, reduce the heat and cook shallots until caramelized, stirring frequently.
- Boil the green beans in a pan of water for 3-4 minutes.
- Drain and transfer the beans to the pan with shallots.
- Add in chopped parsley and apple cider vinegar.
- Season with sea salt and pepper.
- Heat for another 3-4 minutes.
- Top with toasted almonds and serve.
2. Carrot ginger soup with crispy shallots and coconut cream
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp ginger, minced or finely diced
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large pot.
- Add the onions and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the ginger and garlic to the pot and stir.
- Place the chopped carrots in the pot and cook for 10 minutes, while stirring.
- Add the broth, bay leaf, cinnamon and salt to the pot.
- Bring to a boil, then cover and turn the heat to low and cook for 20-30 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and remove the bay leaf.
- Blend the soup until it's puréed and smooth.
- Heat the avocado oil in a pot on medium-high heat and add the shallots.
- Cook the shallots for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Once the shallots are golden in colour remove and add to the soup.
Side Effects Of Shallots
- Individuals with bleeding disorders should avoid shallots as it may slow down blood clotting, thereby increasing the risk of bleeding  .
- Due to its ability to lower blood sugar levels, consumption of it along with diabetes medication can reduce the sugar levels way.
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