The Wonderful World Of The Allium Family

The Wonderful World Of The Allium Family

They’re stinky and nutritious.
They’re all together delicious.
We promise this isn’t fictitious.
The allium family!

A cuisine without allium vegetables is non-existent. Onions, shallots, scallions, garlic, leeks, and chives are all members of the Allium genus and are often the base of so many dishes. Cooking without them would be criminal! They set up the foundational flavors, and we fail to recognize them as featured ingredients. Here at Dherbs, we consider them to be the lead roles because they pack a powerful, nutritional punch. 

About The Allium Family:

It all started with Papa Garlic. Okay, not really, but the word allium is in fact the Latin word for garlic. If you’ve cooked with allium-rich vegetables, then you know about their potent aromas. For example, the sulfur compounds in onions and garlic make you cry, but studies found that these compounds exhibit anti-cancer, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant activity. One way to maximize these compounds is to let them sit for a few minutes after cutting them. Don’t throw them in the pan immediately because the resting time allows the enzymes to release, transforming into more beneficial forms. Step away from the chopped vegetables, though, unless you feel like tearing up. 

It’s very easy to incorporate allium-rich vegetables into your everyday meals. From breakfast to lunch to dinner, you can sneak these vegetables into almost any meal, except for sweet treats of course. Get excited about the allium family because we’re about to introduce you all the members and their health benefits. 

Leeks:

We’re about to leak you some delicious information about leeks: they are some of the most underrated vegetables! On a serious note, leeks have been used in soups, stews, and stocks for centuries. They contain kaempferol, a flavonoid that may help protect damage to blood vessel lining. Leeks also work to benefit cardiovascular health by increasing nitric oxide production. This gas works to relax blood vessels, increasing vasodilation, a process that helps to decrease blood pressure. Another surprising fact about leeks is that they contain a lot of folate, an essential B-vitamin that supports cardiovascular health. 

Garlic: 

Garlic has a long history of remedying myriad health conditions. In fact, people used it as a healing agent during typhus, influenza, cholera, and dysentery epidemics. Garlic is rich in vitamins B6 & C, copper, potassium, thiamin, manganese, phosphorus, and calcium. Research on the organosulfur compounds in garlic suggests that they may improve immune function and decrease cancer risk by reducing inflammation and cell damage. Multiple studies revealed that the phytochemicals in garlic may also help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 

Chives:

Chives are not simply garnishing herbs; rather, they are hardy allium-rich vegetables that exhibit promising health benefits. Several cancer research studies found that the sulfuric compounds in chives may prevent cancer cells from growing and spreading. The studies only tested these health properties on early stages of cancer. The choline and folate in chives also work to improve memory. Studies have shown that adults who eat more choline perform better on cognitive tests and have a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Onion:

The almighty onion is a staple in so many cuisines, and the Ancient Egyptians used to worship them. They buried onions with pharaohs because they believed that the internal rings of the onion represented eternity. Onions are excellent sources of prebiotics, which are compounds that feed probiotics, the microorganisms in your gut. Several studies found that the prebiotic fiber in onions is more beneficial the the fiber found in certain fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Scallions:

Known as green onions, spring onions, and scallions, these tall, green allium-rich veggies help to boost immune function and work to expel mucus from the body. The carotenoids in scallions help to improve your vision, while the sulfur compounds help to reduce blood sugar levels. Nutritionists recommend incorporating scallions into appetizers because they are rich in fiber and aid digestion. They are more nutritious in their raw form. 

Shallots:

Last but certainly not least, we have shallots, which some people refer to as gourmet onions. They have a high concentration of antioxidants, which work to encourage heart health and proper circulation. The thiosulfinates in shallots prevent the formation of dangerous blood clots. Shallots also contain allicin, a beneficial compound that reduces stiffness of blood vessels by releasing nitric oxide. 

Sources:

https://fruitguys.com/2019/05/the-wonderful-world-of-alliums/
https://time.com/5566916/are-garlic-and-onions-healthy/
https://foodrevolution.org/blog/allium-vegetables/

2020-10-30T17:13:05-07:00