The green onion doesn't have the girth of its onion relatives, but these versatile veggies are big on taste. Often called spring onions or scallions, green onions have white bulbs and edible green tips that add different flavors to recipes. These mild-flavored onions are a source of vitamin C, potassium and quercetin, a natural antioxidant that may provide health benefits.
About Green Onions
Women need 2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day, and green onions count toward your daily servings. These flavorful veggies are low in calories, providing only 16 calories per 1/2 cup. Unlike onion salt, green onions add a low-sodium flavor to your dishes. A high-sodium diet causes high blood pressure, so eat less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. One serving of green onions contains only 8 milligrams of sodium.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects your cells and promotes healthy tissue growth. You need 75 milligrams of vitamin C per day for healing wounds, repairing tissue and maintaining the strength of your bones and teeth. Green onions provide 9 milligrams of vitamin C per 1/2-cup serving, or 12 percent of your daily needs. Green onions also contain potassium, a crucial mineral for blood pressure control. You need 4,700 milligrams of potassium per day, and most adults fall short of their needs. Adding 1 cup of green onions to your recipe provides 276 milligrams of potassium. Green onions also contain small amounts of calcium and phosphorus, two important minerals for bone health.
Quercetin is found in the pigments of onions and acts as an antioxidant, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory. This natural chemical may protect against some chronic conditions, including asthma, allergies, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Most of the research on quercetin has been performed on animals or cell cultures. More research will determine if the level of quercetin in green onions has the same effect on humans.
Except for the stringy roots, green onions are entirely edible. The white bulb has an onion flavor and the greens are similar to chives. Use both parts as flavorings for salads and coleslaw. The greens make an excellent topping for a baked potato or vegetable side dishes. For a mild onion flavor, substitute the white bulbs for yellow onions in your recipes. Enjoy grilled green onions as a side dish. Cut off the roots and leave an inch of greens at the top. Sprinkle the onions with olive oil and garlic, wrap them in aluminum foil and cook them on the grill for a few minutes.
- Fruits and Veggies More Matters: Green Onions: Nutrition, Selection and Storage
- USDA: How Many Vegetables are Needed Daily or Weekly?
- USDA Nutrient Database: Onions, Spring or Scallions (Includes Tops and Bulb), Raw
- MedLine Plus: Vitamin C
- Mayo Clinic: Sodium: How to Tame Your Salt Habit Now
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Potassium
- Phytotherapy Research: Onions -- A Global Benefit to Health
- American Cancer Society: Quercetin
Jennifer Dlugos is a Boston-based writer with more than 10 years of experience in the health-care and wellness industries. She is also an award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter who teaches screenwriting and film production classes throughout New England. Dlugos holds a master's degree in dietetics.