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What’s New and Beneficial about Onions
If you have been listening to that age old advice about an apple a day, then perhaps you ought to change that to an apple and an onion a day. The lowly onion is a relative of other super foods such as chives, leeks, scallions, and garlic. Onions are super rich in compounds that contain sulfur, which give them their strong smell as well as their health benefits. Onions are perhaps one of the first vegetables that our ancestors began planting and with good reason. Beside the fact that they are super easy to grow, they are a virtual powerhouse when it comes to their nutritional value. Besides being packed full of vitamin B6, iron, vitamin C, and potassium, but it’s actually their phytochemicals that are the thing that researchers are interested in; particularly the flavonoid quercetin and allyl disulphide. Onions are a treasure trove of beneficial qualities; they are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti=allergy, and anti-histaminic all in one. Just by skimming over all the available research you will understand why you should add more onions to your diet. Onions have so much to offer us but we will take a look at the top 4 benefits of eating these delicious veggies.
1. Onions can lower your risk of cancer
The lowly onion has numerous anti-cancer properties, including quercetin, which can decrease the initiation of cancerous tumors as well a stop the growth of colon, breast, and ovarian cancer cells. Eating onions is a great way to use your food as a means of lowering your risk of cancer. For those who eat onions, they have a much lower risk of developing various types of cancers such as renal cell, colorectal, gastric, esophageal, laryngeal, ovarian, breast, and prostate cancer. Now although it’s still unclear exactly how many or how much onions one needs to eat to get these cancer protection properties, research indicates that even moderate consumption can give you great benefits. Studies suggest that one to seven servings per week might be enough. One serving is equal to about half a cup.
SEE ALSO: Benefits of Turmeric for Your Health
2. Onions are heart healthy
While they might not do much for your breath, your heart sure loves them. In fact if you have heard of the “French Paradox”, where the French have much lower rates of heart disease although they consume high calorie diets, it’s sometimes been thought that it might be the antioxidants in the red wine they drink but, perhaps, it has to do more with the onions that are very often used in French food. The sulfur compounds found in onions are believed to have anti-clotting properties as well as being able to keep blood vessels flexible by improving nitric oxide release. Keeping the blood vessels flexible can reduce blood pressure and keep blood clots from forming. This means onions can decrease heart disease and stroke. Read more 11 things you probably don’t know about your heart.
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3. Onions were a prehistoric staple food
Wild onions have been used as food since the very earliest of times, and were probably a main staple in our ancestor’s prehistoric diet. Onions have been cultivated for at least 5,000 years and possibly more. Since onions grow wild in many regions they were most likely eaten by the thousands all over the world. Since onions are easy to grow, and are easily transported, they were most likely one of the earliest cultivated crop. Onions can be dried and preserved and therefore used later if food became difficult to find. Although the origin of the onion remains unknown, it’s been described as being used since ancient times. The Egyptians used the onion as a symbol of eternity and they even buried them with their Pharaohs. In India onions were used for good digestion and for heart, eye, and joint remedies. In Europe, during the Middle Ages, onions were quite popular and were prescribed for many ailments including hair loss, snakebites, and headaches; while Native Americans used onions for cooking, dyes, and even toys for their children.
4. Onions are good for almost every body part and function
The more we know about onions the more we realize they have something to offer for our entire body. Research shows that eating onions can offer you these health benefits and more:
- Prevent the inflammation that is associated with asthma
- Reduce the symptoms of diabetes
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Preserve gastrointestinal health by supporting the good bacteria
- Improve bone health
- Lowers the risk of forming cataracts
- Antimicrobial compounds that can help reduce food-borne bacteria and illness
- Onions can make teeth whiter
One of the great things about onions is, unlike many other vegetables, they don’t lose their vitamins or health benefits when they are cooked under low heat, such as a simmering soup or stew. So making an onion soup tonight might just be the easy super food recipe you are looking for!