Shallot, scientific name Allium ascalonium, is a bulb native to Ashkelon, an ancient city of Palestine. It is similar to garlic, with a bulb constituted by several cloves covered by a thin peel. Like the other members of Allium family, such as garlic, onion, leek and chives, also shallot is a source of phytochemical sulfur-containing compounds that develop when shallot is cut, chopped or sliced. These substances act as anti-cancers by inhibiting the proliferation and growth of many cancer cells (Herman-Antosiewicz et al, Mutation research, 2004). According to a scientific study, those people who eat daily 10 g of vegetables of Allium family, such as shallot, have a 50% lower risk of developing a prostatic cancer than those who eat less than 2 g per day (Hsing et al, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2002). In addition to this very important property shallot is also able to keep under control the levels of cholesterol and, thanks to the sulfur based substances, also the levels of blood sugar and, consequently, abdominal fat. Moreover, shallot contains also vitamins, such as A, group B and E, and antioxidants, such as quercetin, but also selenium, iodine for the proper functioning of thyroid, silicon, for the health of hair and nails, potassium, that helps keep under control the blood pressure and makes shallot a food with diuretic properties, able to counteract toxin accumulation, water retention and cellulite, magnesium, zinc, manganese and finally folic acid. Shallot boosts the immune system and is anti-inflammatory. You can add shallot raw on salads in order to preserve all the nutrients. Alternatively, you can use it cooked to make tastier sauces and soups, but consider that the heat may destroy part of the properties. In general eating shallot doesn’t have contraindications but it should be limited or avoided if you suffer from ulcer.
Antioxidant and anti cancer action according to scientific studies, vitamins, mineral salts and folic acid, able to keep under control the levels of cholesterol and blood sugar, counteracts the abdominal fat, diuretic and detox properties.