Green Onion Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
The term green onion is usually used interchangeably with spring onion and scallion. All are onions that don't have a large bulb, either because they don't grow that way or because they are harvested before the bulb forms. Green onions deliver a lot of the flavor of mature bulb onions, with a little less of the bite. And the green leaves are edible, which offers some different nutrients from bulb onions.
Green Onion Nutrition Facts
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 medium (15g) raw green onion.
- Calories: 4.8
- Fat: 0g
- Sodium: 2.4mg
- Carbohydrates: 1.1g
- Fiber: 0.4g
- Sugar: 0.4g
- Protein: 0.3g
One raw green onion contains just over 1 gram of carbohydrate, about half of which is from fiber and the other half from sugar.
As with most non-starchy vegetables, green onions are not measured by the glycemic index. Because they have so little carbohydrate, they can't be tested for glycemic index and are assumed to have a low GI. The glycemic load, which takes into account the amount that may be eaten, is also assumed to be very low; consuming them does not raise blood sugar.
Like most vegetables, green onions have virtually no fat.
Green onions also contain very little protein.
Vitamins and Minerals
Nutritionally, green onions have a combination of the benefits of onions and leafy greens like spinach or chard. They are an excellent source of vitamin K (one medium green onion provides 34% of adequate intake for women) as well as a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate.
The humble onion packs a surprising punch when it comes to disease fighting and health promoting. If you use green onions as a garnish, you won't get as much of their nutrition, so try upping the serving size.
Supports Bone Health
Eat three medium-sized green onions and you've gotten your daily dose of vitamin K. This vitamin is important for blood clotting and also for bone health, and research specifically links onions with decreased risk of osteoporosis.
May Decrease Risk of Cancer
Green onions are part of the Allium family, along with garlic, leeks, and chives. Scientists have identified certain compounds in these vegetables that seem to protect against cancer. Studies show a correlation between the consumption of these vegetables and reduced risk for myeloma, gastric, colorectal, endometrial, lung, and prostate cancer.
Reduces Obesity and Related Diseases
Researchers are investigating the many antioxidants and bioactive compounds in onions and finding that they may be effective against obesity and related diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes. One study noted that the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet is rich in onions and related vegetables.
Low in FODMAPs
If you follow a low-FODMAP diet to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, you may have to avoid onions. However, the green parts of green onions are low in FODMAPs and usually safe to consume.
Onion allergy appears to be rare, but a few cases have been reported in the medical literature. If you are concerned about an allergy to green onions or any other food, discuss your symptoms with your doctor for diagnosis and advice on managing your condition.
Oral allergy syndrome, in which consuming raw fruits and vegetables can cause symptoms such as itching and swelling around the mouth, can also happen in people with seasonal mugwort pollen allergies. Other vegetables, including garlic, parsley, peppers, and cabbage, may also cause a reaction.
If you take the blood thinner Coumadin (warfarin), you need to consume a consistent amount of vitamin K. That may mean limiting your intake of green onions and other leafy greens. Discuss your diet with your doctor or a registered dietitian.
There are dozens (if not hundreds!) of onion varieties, and any of them can be harvested early enough to be used as green onions. It's just a matter of timing.
When They're Best
Green onions are available year-round. They have bright green tops with a firm white base that includes small shoots of roots. The entire green onion is edible, although you may want to trim off the tiny roots. The bulb portion of a green onion is mild-tasting, relative to large bulb onions. You can even re-grow your green onion by placing the base in a small container of water.
Storage and Food Safety
Remove any packaging, such as rubber bands, and discard leaves that have been damaged. Wrap green onions in a plastic bag and store them in the vegetable crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
They should not be stored for more than five days and may wilt or lose their crispness in as little as two to three days, depending on how fresh they were when you bought them. Store green onions separately from foods that tend to absorb onion odors, such as mushrooms or corn.
How to Prepare
Green onions are often eaten raw, but can also be roasted, grilled, or sauteed, whole or chopped. Use to garnish soups, salads, or dips, or to spice up tuna or chicken salad. You can also use a food processor and combine green onions, garlic, ginger, and olive oil to make a pesto-like sauce or spread that can be added to meat dishes or used on top of other vegetables.
Healthy Green Onion Recipes to Try
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Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
Onions, spring or scallions (includes tops and bulb), raw. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.
Law YY, Chiu HF, Lee HH, Shen YC, Venkatakrishnan K, Wang CK. Consumption of onion juice modulates oxidative stress and attenuates the risk of bone disorders in middle-aged and post-menopausal healthy subjects. Food Funct. 2016;7(2):902-12. doi:10.1039/c5fo01251a
Puccinelli MT, Stan SD. Dietary bioactive diallyl trisulfide in cancer prevention and treatment. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18(8). doi:10.3390/ijms18081645
Marrelli M, Amodeo V, Statti G, Conforti F. Biological properties and bioactive components of Allium cepa L.: Focus on potential benefits in the treatment of obesity and related comorbidities. Molecules. 2018;24(1). doi:10.3390/molecules24010119
Albanesi M, Pasculli C, Giliberti L, et al. Immunological characterization of onion (Allium cepa) allergy. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2019;36(1):98-103. doi:10.5114/ada.2019.82829
Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) or Pollen Fruit Syndrome (PFS). American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology.
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Values*
|There are 32 calories in 100 grams of Young Green Onions.|
|Calorie breakdown: 4% fat, 76% carbs, 19% protein.|
Other Common Serving Sizes:
Related Types of Onions:
Related Types of Vegetables:
Onions 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Effects
Onions (Allium cepa) are bulb-shaped vegetables that grow underground.
Also known as bulb onions or common onions, they are grown worldwide and closely related to chives, garlic, scallions, shallots, and leeks.
Onions may have several health benefits, mostly due to their high content of antioxidants and sulfur-containing compounds.
They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, lower blood sugar levels, and improved bone health.
Commonly used as a flavoring or side dish, onions are a staple food in many cuisines. They can be baked, boiled, grilled, fried, roasted, sautéed, powdered, or eaten raw.
Onions vary in size, shape, and color, but the most common types are white, yellow, and red. The taste ranges from mild and sweet to sharp and spicy, depending on the variety and season.
Onions can also be consumed when immature, before the bulb reaches full size. They are then called scallions, spring onions, or summer onions.
This article tells you everything you need to know about onions.
Raw onions are very low in calories, with only 40 calories per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
By fresh weight, they are 89% water, 9% carbs, and 1.7% fiber, with tiny amounts of protein and fat.
The main nutrients in 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of raw onions are ():
- Calories: 40
- Water: 89%
- Protein: 1.1 grams
- Carbs: 9.3 grams
- Sugar: 4.2 grams
- Fiber: 1.7 grams
- Fat: 0.1 grams
Carbohydrates make up about 9–10% of both raw and cooked onions.
They consist mostly of simple sugars, such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose, as well as fiber.
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) portion contains 9.3 grams of carbs and 1.7 grams of fiber, so the total digestible carb content is 7.6 grams.
Onions are a decent source of fiber, which accounts for 0.9–2.6% of the fresh weight, depending on the type of onion.
They are very rich in healthy soluble fibers called fructans. In fact, onions are among the main dietary sources of fructans (, 3).
Fructans are so-called prebiotic fibers, which feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
This leads to the formation of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as butyrate, which may improve colon health, reduce inflammation, and cut your risk of colon cancer (, , ).
However, fructans are considered FODMAPs, which may cause unpleasant digestive symptoms in sensitive individuals, such as those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (, , ).
Onions consist mostly of water, carbs, and fiber. Their main fibers, fructans, can feed the friendly bacteria in your gut, though they may cause digestive problems in some people.
Vitamins and minerals
Onions contain decent amounts of several vitamins and minerals, including:
- Vitamin C. An antioxidant, this vitamin is needed for immune function and maintenance of skin and hair (, , ).
- Folate (B9). A water-soluble B vitamin, folate is essential for cell growth and metabolism and especially important for pregnant women ().
- Vitamin B6. Found in most foods, this vitamin is involved in the formation of red blood cells.
- Potassium. This essential mineral can have blood pressure-lowering effects and is important for heart health (, ).
Onions contain decent amounts of vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6, and potassium, which provide a number of benefits.
Other plant compounds
The health benefits of onions are attributed to their antioxidants and sulfur-containing compounds (3).
In many countries, onions are also among the main dietary sources of flavonoids, specifically a compound called quercetin (, , ).
The most abundant plant compounds in onions are:
- Anthocyanins. Only found in red or purple onions, anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants and pigments that give these onions their reddish color.
- Quercetin. An antioxidant flavonoid, quercetin may lower blood pressure and improve heart health (, ).
- Sulfur compounds. These are mainly sulfides and polysulfides, which may protect against cancer (, , ).
- Thiosulfinates. These sulfur-containing compounds may inhibit the growth of harmful microorganisms and prevent the formation of blood clots ().
Red and yellow onions are richer in antioxidants than other types. In fact, yellow onions may contain almost 11 times more antioxidants than white onions ().
Cooking can significantly reduce levels of some antioxidants ().
Onions are rich in plant compounds and antioxidants, especially quercetin and sulfur-containing compounds. Colorful varieties, such as yellow or red ones, pack more antioxidants than white ones.
Health benefits of onions
Onions have been shown to have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (3, 28, 29, 30).
Blood sugar regulation
Type 2 diabetes is a common disease, characterized primarily by high blood sugar levels.
Animal studies suggest that onions can lower blood sugar levels (, , ).
The same results have been shown in humans. One study in people with type 2 diabetes found that eating 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of raw onions per day led to a significant reduction in blood sugar levels ().
Raw onions may help control both type 1 and 2 diabetes, but more research is needed (, ).
Osteoporosis is a common health problem, especially in postmenopausal women. A healthy diet is one of the main preventive measures (37, 38).
Animal studies reveal that onions protect against bone deterioration and may even increase bone mass (, , ).
A large observational study in women over 50 years of age found that regular onion consumption is linked to increased bone density ().
Further research indicates that intake of selected fruit, herbs, and vegetables, including onions, may reduce bone loss in postmenopausal women ().
Reduction of cancer risk
Cancer is a common disease, characterized by uncontrolled cell growth. It is one of the world’s leading causes of death.
Observational studies have linked increased consumption of onions to a reduced risk of several types of cancers, such as those of the stomach, breast, colon, and prostate (, , , , , ).
Onions have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. They may lower blood sugar levels, improve bone health, and reduce the risk of several types of cancers.
Eating onions can lead to bad breath and an unpleasant body odor.
Several other downsides may make this vegetable unsuitable for some people.
Onion intolerance and allergy
Onion allergy is relatively rare, but intolerance to raw varieties is fairly common.
Symptoms of onion intolerance include digestive disruption, such as upset stomach, heartburn, and gas ().
Some people may experience allergic reactions from touching onions, whether or not they’re allergic to eating them ().
Onions contain FODMAPs, which are a category of carbs and fibers that many people cannot tolerate (, , ).
They may cause unpleasant digestive symptoms, such as bloating, gas, cramping, and diarrhea (, ).
Individuals with IBS are often intolerant to FODMAPs and may want to avoid onions.
Eye and mouth irritation
The most common issue with preparing and cutting onions is eye irritation and tear production. When cut, an onion’s cells to release a gas called lachrymatory factor (LF) ().
The gas activates neurons in your eyes that cause a stinging sensation, followed by tears that are produced to flush out the irritant.
Leaving the root end intact while cutting may reduce irritation, as the onion base has a higher concentration of these substances than the bulb.
Cutting onions under running water may also prevent this gas from dissolving into the air.
LF is also responsible for the burning sensation in your mouth when onions are eaten raw. This burning sensation is reduced or eliminated by cooking (55).
Dangerous for pets
While onions are a healthy component of human diets, they can be deadly for some animals, including dogs, cats, horses, and monkeys (56).
The main culprits are sulfoxides and sulfides, which can induce a disease called Heinz body anemia. This illness is characterized by damage within animals’ red blood cells, which leads to anemia ().
Make sure not to feed onions to your pet, and keep anything flavored with onions out of reach if you have an animal in your home.
Onions may cause adverse digestive effects in some people, and raw onion can cause eye and mouth irritation. Onions may be toxic to some animals.
The bottom line
Onions are a root vegetable with a variety of benefits.
They’re high in antioxidants and sulfur-containing compounds, some of which may have a number of beneficial effects.
Although more research is needed, onions have been linked to improved bone health, lower blood sugar levels, and a reduced risk of cancer.
On the other hand, they may cause digestive problems in some people.
If you enjoy them, onions can be a valuable component of a healthy diet.
Onions, raw, spring or scallions (includes tops and bulb)
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Onions, raw, spring or scallions (includes tops and bulb) nutrition facts and analysis per serving
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|Onions, raw, spring or scallions (includes tops and bulb) contains 32 calories per 100 g serving. One serving contains 0.2 g of fat, 1.8 g of protein and 7.3 g of carbohydrate. The latter is 2.3 g sugar and 2.6 g of dietary fiber, the rest is complex carbohydrate. Onions, raw, spring or scallions (includes tops and bulb) contains 0 g of saturated fat and 0 mg of cholesterol per serving. 100 g of Onions, raw, spring or scallions (includes tops and bulb) contains IU vitamin A, 18.8 mg of vitamin C and 0.00 mcg of vitamin D as well as 1.48 mg of iron, 72.00 mg of calcium and 276 mg of potassium. Onions, raw, spring or scallions (includes tops and bulb) belong to 'Vegetables and Vegetable Products' food category.|
Onion 100g facts green nutrition
|Amount Per 100g|
|Calories - 27||Calories from Fat - 4|
|Vitamins and Minerals|
|A 200µg||C 13.4mg|
|B-6 0.09mg||B-12 0µg|
|D 0µg||E 0.21mg|
|Calcium 52µg||Iron 0.51mg|
|Magnesium 16mg||Zinc 0.2mg|
|Potassium 159mg||Sodium 15mg|
Fat 9 • Carbohydrate 4 • Protein 4
how to burn 27 calories
(100 g of green onions)
jogging (5 mph)
walking (15 minute mile)
swimming (25 yards per min)
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