Onions can be found in most types of cuisines. Aside from giving us tears, this vegetable can transform our meals into a flavorful and aromatic experience. Several studies have found that onions, whether its white, purple, green, or red, can provide several health benefits into our body. Its sulfur-containing compound is the ones responsible for many of its health benefits.
Dr. Jonathan Stegall, an integrative medicine practitioner in Johns Creek, Ga., emphasizes that:
“Onions contain a high amount of sulfur compounds, which not only give onions their recognizable smell but are also powerful detoxifying agents.”
Found in onions are more than 100 sulfur-containing compounds which can help our body prevent and treat various diseases from heart disease to diabetes.
Also, Victoria Jarzabkowski, a nutritionist with the Fitness Institute of Texas at the University of Texas at Austin, says that:
“Onions are super-healthy. They are excellent sources of vitamin C, sulfuric compounds, flavonoids, and phytochemicals.”
Flavonoids have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that help reduce dangerous inflammation in the arteries and protect the body against the harmful effects of free radicals. Meanwhile, phytochemicals, or phytonutrients, react with the human body to trigger healthy reactions. According to studies, these important components may help reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.
One cup of chopped onion contains approximately:
- Calories – 64
- Carbohydrate – 15 grams
- Fat – 0 grams
- Fiber – 3 grams
- Protein – 2 grams
- Cholesterol – 0 grams
- Sugar – 7 grams
- 10% or more of the daily value for vitamin C, vitamin B-6 and manganese.
In addition to this, onions also contain iron, folate, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus as well as antioxidants quercetin and sulfur.
Why we should eat more onions? Check out the detailed reasons listed below.
Rich In Antioxidants
Onions are rich in antioxidants that prevent oxidation which contributes to various diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart diseases. It has quercetin, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound, and anthocyanins which were found to help lower the risk of a nonfatal heart attack.
May Help Prevent Cancer
In addition to eating garlic, consumption of more onions can also help us lower our chances of certain cancers like colorectal cancer, stomach cancer, ovarian cancer, and lung cancer. Studies found that this effect is mainly due to its sulfur compounds and flavonoid antioxidants (fisetin and quercetin).
They Improve Bone Density
Various studies support onions ability to improve bone density and maintain bone health, particularly in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women.
In a study conducted, it was found that postmenopausal women who consumed 3.4 ounces (100 ml) of onion juice daily for eight weeks had experienced an improvement in their mineral density and antioxidant activity as compared to a control group.
A Promising Asthma Treatment
The antioxidant quercetin present in onions has antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent immune cells from releasing chemicals that cause allergic reactions, thereby making it a possible remedy for asthma symptoms.
Helps Prevent Heart Disease
Again, thanks to the quercetin content of onions. It was found to be able to lower blood pressure in hypertensive adults.
In a study conducted in 2007, researchers concluded that onions exceed the heart-protective properties of red wine. This vegetable can help ease the hardening of the arteries, keep arteries elastic and maintain good blood pressure.
They Support Gut Health
Inulin, a prebiotic fiber, is abundantly found in onions. Inulin serves as food for good bacteria in the body and helps them flourish. Additionally, this prebiotic also supports healthy bone density, enhances nutrient absorption, prevents constipation, aid in weight loss, and improves blood sugar control.
Helps Prevent Tooth Decay
Yes, our breath may stink once we eat onions. However, consumption of them can help improve our oral health by strengthening our teeth and eliminating bacteria that cause tooth decay. To enjoy this benefit, we just have to chew on onion for two to three minutes. Doing this will kill germs in our mouth.
We can fully reap onion’s health benefits when we cook them right. Avoid cooking onions longer than 30 minutes to avoid destroying its beneficial compounds. Also, when peeling onions, we need to remove only a little of the edible part of it as possible because the outer layers of an onion flesh contain the highest levels of flavonoids.
Some of the ways wherein we can add them into our diet are as follows:
- Use cooked onions as a healthy side dish.
- Add thinly sliced red onions on salads.
- Add caramelized onions to savory baked goods.
- Add onions to egg omelets or frittatas.
- Blend raw onions with fresh herbs, vinegar and olive oil for a tasty homemade salad dressing.
- Prepare a hearty onion and vegetable soup.
- Use onion and garlic as a base for stocks and soups.