Onion – health benefits

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1. Overview


Onion is used as an ingredient in various dishes for thousands of years throughout the world. World onion production is steadily increasing so far; onions are one of the most widely cultivated vegetable after tomatoes.

There are many varieties of onions: red, yellow, white, green, and each has its own unique flavor – from light to intense. Onions can be eaten raw, boiled, fried, dry or baked. It is usually used to flavor salads and stir in various dishes.

Onion is part of the Liliaceae family, the same family as garlic, leeks, chives and shallot. There are over 600 varieties of onions, which are found worldwide.


Contents

1. Overview
2. Properties
3. Health benefits
4. The main reasons to eat onions


2. Properties

Onions are characterized by their rich content of organic sulfur compounds and other odoriferous compounds. Cysteine sulfoxide is primarily responsible for the onion flavor and produce compounds that lead to irritation and watery eyes.

Many of these organic sulfur compounds have antimicrobial properties. Onion is effective against many bacteria, such as Bacillus subtilis, Salmonella and E.coli. Still the onion action is not yet as intense as garlic action, considering that onion have only a quarter of sulfur compounds belonging to the garlic mixture.


3. Health benefits

Ancient writings attest that onion has been used since 4000 BC as treatment for several diseases. In World War II, the vapors of onion paste were used to reduce pain and speed up wound healing.

Even today, onion offers multiple health benefits:

- Anemia – has a high iron content;

- Anti-inflammatory – anti-inflammatory agents found in onion are useful for reducing symptoms of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and gout;

- Antiseptic – fighting infections caused by bacteria, including E. coli, salmonella, and is effective against tuberculosis and urinary tract infections such as cystitis;

- Blood pressure – whether it is eaten raw or cooked, onion help to lower blood pressure naturally. Helps thin the blood, dissolve blood clots and clear the blood of unhealthy fats;

- Cholesterol – eating half a raw onion every day will decrease bad cholesterol, will fade events will be prevented thrombosis and cardiovascular accidents;

- Prevent colon cancer – fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) in onions stimulate the growth of good bacteria in the colon and helps reduce the risk of tumor growth that might develop in the colon;

- Constipation and flatulence – to relieve chronic constipation and flatulence will eat plenty of onions;

- Diabetes – chrome found in onion composition maintain cell health for sufferers of diabetes, contributing to decreased insulin levels and increased glucose tolerance;

- Diuretic properties and blood clearance – onions prevents water retention, helps to eliminate sand in urine, relieve gout and arthritis;

- Disorders of the ear – to stop tinnitus in some cultures is inserted into the ear a little cotton wool soaked in onion juice;

- Hair loss – research has shown that onion juice applied to the scalp twice a week for two months leads to hair regeneration;

- Immune booster – onions enhance blood circulation and stimulates sweating. It is useful in cold weather to remove infections, reduces fever and sweating manifested in colds and flu;

- Osteoporosis – was recently discovered that a component found in onions prevents the bones weakening;

- Respiratory problems – mix equal amounts of onion juice and honey and take 3-4 teaspoons of this mixture every day to liquefy mucus and prevent its formation. Also, onions are one of the best remedies against colds;

- Low libido – onion, next to garlic, is a powerful aphrodisiac. To obtain this effect, white onion is the most effective;

- Urinary tract infections – boil some pieces of white onion in half liter of water until the water evaporates. Strain through a sieve, let it cool and drink it. Antibacterial properties help calm the burning sensation when urinating.


4. The main reasons to eat onions

- Quercetin – belongs to a class of soluble plant pigments called flavonoids. Quercetin is one of the most studied flavonoids contained by vegetables as they contain large amounts of this substance.

Quercetin is an antioxidant more potent than vitamin E, according to recent research. Quercetin has important anti-inflammatory effects, helps to reduce and release of histamine and other allergic and inflammatory sources.

Meat cooked with onions help reduce the amount of carcinogens produced when meat is cooked at high temperatures, such as the grill. Quercetin may also help reduce symptoms such as fatigue, depression and anxiety.

- Flavonoids – helps maintain healthy cardiovascular system. Onions are rich in flavonoids which help reduce the risk of heart disease. Flavonoids are known for their antioxidant activity and are commonly referred to as bioflavonoids.

- Chromium – chromium is a molecule that helps cells to respond properly to insulin. Clinical studies of diabetics have shown that it can decrease glucose levels and can increase glucose tolerance, insulin levels and may lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, promoting the reduction of bad cholesterol. Chromium may be helpful in preventing sudden drop of energy.

- Natural probiotic – Probiotics are indigestible food ingredients that when consumed stimulates proliferation and function of certain good bacteria in the gut.

Sources of probiotics commonly found are onions, garlic, bananas and asparagus. Recent studies have shown that probiotics can relieve common ailments such as irritable bowel syndrome, acne, food allergies, chronic fatigue and depression.

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