Spring onions – Oodles of health apart from flavour

Spring onion – Oodles of health apart from flavour

Picture credit: https://www.pexels.com/Johan Bos

Spring onion in food, particularly Chinese, is a common thing. The Indo-Chinese that we have come to love so much never feels complete without a bit of chopped spring onion green sprinkled on it. A bit of this gives a nice aroma, flavour and crunch as well.

While fully grown onions have a very strong taste and smell, the subtle flavour of spring onions can improve the taste of a dish.

What we commonly know as spring onion is the onion plant before the bulb fully grows. When the bulb (usually not wider than the green part) is the smallest, it is called scallion. When it becomes slightly bigger, it is called green onion and when the bulb takes a round shape, it is called spring onion. There are more variations in the plant depending on the region around the world.

The Allium vegetable family consists of, apart from scallions, onions, garlic, leeks, chives, shallots, Chinese onion and others.

As spring onions and other vegetables in the Allium vegetable family are packed with nutrients like vitamins, fibres, sugars, minerals, proteins and amino acids, it would be a great idea to include them in your diet.

DH lists some health benefits of Allium vegetables:

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (USA) has published a research paper which says that consumption of spring onion can decrease risk of cancer.

“The Allium genus includes garlic, onions, shallots, leeks and chives. These vegetables are popular in cuisines worldwide and are valued for their potential medicinal properties. Epidemiological studies, while limited in their abilities to assess Allium consumption, indicate some associations of Allium vegetable consumption with decreased risk of cancer, particularly cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. Limited intervention studies have been conducted to support these associations. The majority of supportive evidence on Allium vegetables cancer preventive effects comes from mechanistic studies,” the research paper says.

Can lower blood sugar:
“Allium cepa, a spice plant, is commonly known as onion and belongs to the family liliaceae. Since ancient times, it has been used traditionally for the treatment of different diseases. Among various activities of Allium cepa, regulation of hypoglycemic activity is considered one of its important effects in DM,” says another research paper published in the NCBI.

Rich in antioxidants:
“Allium sativum (garlic) is rich in antioxidants, which help destroy free radical particles that can damage cell membranes and DNA, and may contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of conditions, including heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants neutralise free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause over time,” says a third paper published in the NCBI.

Antimicrobial properties, heart health:
“The bulb and cloves of the garlic are the most commonly used parts of the plants for medicinal purpose. It has a typical pungent odour and antibacterial activity depends on the sulfur-containing compounds, the major one being allicin, which is produced by enzymatic (alliin lyase) hydrolysis of allicin after cutting and crushing of the cloves,” said a paper published in the NCBI based on research at the SSG Hospital, Vadodara.

“Throughout history, many different cultures have recognised the potential use of garlic for prevention and treatment of different diseases. Recent researches have focused on four main areas: Heart disease, cancer, infectious disease and antioxidant effects. Garlic is found to have antihypertensive, antioxidant, antiplatelet, antitumor and lipid-lowering actions. Moreover, a recent study also points out towards the antimicrobial action of garlic,” it adds.

How to consume spring onion:
Finely chopped spring onion sprinkled on top will enhance the taste of any Chinese dish, notably stir fry, fried rice or noodles.

The bulb (white, bottom portion) of the scallion, spring onion or green onion can one of the ingredients for a stir fry along with broccoli, carrot, cabbage and capsicum.

Note: The above health benefits are general guidelines and not substitutes for professional medical advice.