I'm sure you'd love to know why the health benefits of onions are so essential to us? Well, for starters, just beneath their paper-like skins are several chemical compounds that help lower cholesterol, thin your blood and prevent hardening of the arteries, all of which can significantly help prevent heart disease. One of the most critical heart-healthy compounds in onions is the flavonoids. The antioxidant properties within help gather up cell-damaging oxygen molecules called free radicals, which naturally accumulate in your body.
One particular onion-dwelling flavonoid called quercetin is known to help knock out heart disease in two ways. One is that it helps prevent the dangerous low-density lipoprotein form of cholesterol from oxidising, which is the process that makes it stick to your artery walls. The other is that it helps prevent platelets in your blood from sticking together and forming harmful clots.
Another group of protective compounds found in onions is the sulfur compounds, which is the very ones that in many cases, bring tears to your eyes. These compounds are responsible for raising your levels of beneficial high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which helps keep plaque from sticking to your artery walls. At the same time, they lower levels of dangerous blood fats called triglycerides, which helps make your blood thinner, keeping your blood pressure in the safety zone. The good thing here is, you don't need to eat a lot of onions to keep your pump primed with protective compounds.
You can reap all the health benefits from eating just one medium onion, raw or cooked, a day. Not only do onions have the healing power to lower blood pressure, but they also decrease the risk of cancer, reduce inflammation and relieve congestion. Grab an onion, a sharp knife and chop your way to good health.
Whether you choose to consume raw or cooked onions, you will most certainly benefit from their fantastic healing powers. For starters, onions help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) known as the "good" cholesterol because it helps remove all other forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream.
Most noteworthy, onions are a key player in protecting you against cancer, especially cancer of the gastrointestinal tract. It's because the primary flavonoid "quercetin" found in onions can halt the progression of tumours from ever forming. The sulfur compounds in onions also help fight cancer by suppressing tumours. In other words, onions do double duty in the help against cancer. And the more odoriferous the onions are, the better, as these onions help lower the risk of stomach cancer.
Not only do these beautiful bulbous vegetables put the brakes on tumour development but they also stamp out harmful bacteria that may be responsible for you getting stomach cancer in the first place. So if you're looking for cancer protection, you shouldn't skimp on the onions.
The same goes for you if you have asthma or other respiratory ailments. Although research is still ongoing, there are sulfur compounds in onions that may help inhibit the allergic inflammatory response like that seen in asthma. You only need to eat a small serving of onions a day to keep your breathing passages free and clear. Unlike some other plant foods, where it's just not conceivable that you could eat enough to produce a significant effect, you certainly can with onions. So much so, that if you like onions, you can consume them in pretty much large quantities.
Even though eating raw or cooked onions may help in the fight against airway inflammation that accompanies asthma attacks, consuming pickled onions may have the opposite effect. So if your health practitioner or doctor has told you that you're sulfite-sensitive, the best advice is to get your onions directly from the ground. But if pickled onions are your preference, check the label to make sure they come without sulfites. While sulfites are regulated food additives, they are also substances which occur naturally in some foods like onions, as well as in the human body.
What you can see for yourself is the anti-inflammatory effect of onions on your skin. The next time you have an insect bite or any other type of minor inflammation on your skin, rub a cut onion on the affected area. It should help reduce the swelling.
Onions belong to a member of the Allium family and include leeks, shallots and scallions. So whether you're eating onions for better health or solely for their great taste, there's no reason to limit yourself to only onions. Scallions, shallots and other Allium vegetables not only pack the same sulfur compounds and flavonoids as their bigger brothers but they also have several nutrients that boost immunity as well as help in the fight against diseases.
Scallions, also called spring or green onions, are just young and underdeveloped onions. But they are higher in nutrients, particularly vitamin C and folate than their adult counterparts. A half-cup of chopped scallions provides 32 micrograms or eight per cent of the daily value of folate.
Folate is a nutrient that's essential for healthy tissue growth, which may help protect you against cancer, heart disease as well as congenital disabilities. In that same half cup, you'll get about ten milligrams of vitamin C. That's almost 16 per cent of the daily value. Vitamin C is an immunity-boosting antioxidant nutrient that helps vacuum up tissue-damaging oxygen molecules in your body.
Shallots are another miniature botanical member of the Allium family that has its health benefits. Just one tablespoon of shallots contains 600 international units of vitamin A, which is 12 per cent of the daily value. This essential nutrient helps keep your immunity secure and also guards against vision problems associated with ageing, such as night blindness and cataracts.
To get the most nutrients out of your daily dose of onions, eat several different kinds. While white onions have the lowest flavonoid content, red and yellow onions, as well as shallots, have the highest. Even if you like onions, you may not necessarily love them enough to eat a half-cup or so a day. Any amount consumed daily will help benefit you in so many ways. If you have a fear a lousy breath from enjoying the health benefits of onions, here's a refresher. Eat a sprig of fresh parsley as this will help neutralise the sulfur compounds before they turn into any horrific case of halitosis.
Please take note that the information on this site is designed for educational purposes and is intended solely for a general readership. The contents herein are not intended to offer any personal medical advice or to diagnose any health issues you may have. This information is also by no means a substitute for medical care by a licensed healthcare provider. For that, you'd need to consult your medical doctor or a health care practitioner for any advice should you require prescription medication.