Properties and Benefits of Onions: Though it is nothing more than an ordinary vegetable, the onion is the secret ingredient in every traditional dish, giving home-cooked meals an incredibly delicious taste. Nutritionally speaking, onions contain small amounts of almost all essential nutrients, from folate, vitamins B1, B6 and C to manganese, phosphorus, iron, copper and potassium.
Though it may sometimes give minor heartburns to those of you with slightly more sensitive stomachs when eaten raw, the onion is a miracle vegetable rich in flavonoids. Believe it or not, the outer, brown skin of the onion has the highest concentration of quercetin, a bioflavonoid with strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Nevertheless, most of us avoid eating onions (and garlic too) because of their pungent odor which is caused by sulphur compounds. But these members of the Allium family have powerful antibiotic properties, highly beneficial for our health.
Onions lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides levels as well and even improve the membrane function of the red blood cells. All of this makes the onion our heart and cardiovascular system’s best ally. However, reasearchers advise us that it is best to eat them in combination with other vegetables which increases their potency.
Some studies suggest that the onion is efficient at increasing bone density, which is great news especially for women going through menopause. In addition to this, there is strong evidence suggesting that it can reduce the risk of hip fractures in women after the age of menopause, if eaten on a regular basis (daily).
Moreover, this miracle-vegetable is a potent natural anti-inflammatory; still, it is not as strong as its companion, garlic. The onion is famous for its cancer-preventing properties: if eaten regularly, it is very effective in preventing this evil from making its lair within our body.
Though the majority of us prefer it in its bulb form, the ‘new onion’ can be a treat as well. Spring onions, green onions or scallions can be eaten raw, finely sliced on a piece of bread rubbed with a few drops of olive oil. Sounds delicious! Onions are best kept in cool, dry places and the best way to ‘deposit’ them is to tie the scallions together in a sort of a crown.
Try to avoid cutting onions long before using them because they tend to oxidize and lose their properties. And it’s a shame because they have powerful antibacterial properties. Maybe you remember that our grandmothers used to make us tea from baked onion skins. Even back then people knew that this average vegetable could cure bacterial infections. And they didn’t even need scientific evidence for it.
You may also take a look at the nutritional table above where you will see just how many vitamins and other powerful, health-friendly substances 100 g of onion contain. You will notice that vitamin C is on top of the list; you may rest assure, however, because the onion has many other phytochemicals, natural compounds with positive effects on our health. In addition to this, they come in a variety of colours and nuances (there are white onions, scallions or green onions, yellow and red onions), more or less pungent so as to sooth everyone’s taste.
The best way to enjoy the wonderful properties and health benefits of onions is to consume them fresh as often as possible. Raw onions have a high content of naturally-occurring organic sulphur compounds which, according to researchers, boast anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory as well as immune-boosting properties.
This strong-odoured vegetable also contains generous amounts of highly bioavailable quercetin, a potent polyphenol with impressive anticancer properties. Unlike vitamins, for example, quercetin is not affected by cooking heat, meaning that cooked onions have just as much of this potent antioxidant as raw ones.
Yes, onions are incredibly healthy, especially when eaten raw. Yes, it has been shown that regular consumption of moderate amounts is beneficial for our health as it protects against a variety of health problems. However, because this mighty vegetable can cause bloating and stomach discomfort, allergies and worsen acid reflux problems, you might want to stay away from it if it is causing you more harm than good.