Surprising health benefits of onions

Onions are a daily ingredient in my kitchen. Raw onions have a sharp pungent flavor that I love adding to salads while caramelized onions lend a lovely natural sweetness to any dish they grace. In addition to being delicious, onions are also a superfood that is good for your health. Here’s how.
Onions are a daily ingredient in my kitchen. Raw onions have a sharp pungent flavor that I love adding to salads while caramelized onions lend a lovely natural sweetness to any dish they grace. In addition to being delicious, onions are also a superfood that is good for your health. Here’s how.

Onions are aplenty

Your local grocer may only carry two to three types of onions, but these root veggies come in many mouthwatering varieties. There are thousands of varieties of onions, many of which are grown right here in the U.S. You may have to visit your local farmers market or simply grow your own.

Onions are good for you

“Yellow, red and white onions provide more than just flavor. They have layers of benefits,” says consumer advocate Kim Reddin of the National Onion Association. “While additional research is needed, there is a growing body of evidence that the essential nutrients and antioxidants in onions could have considerable health benefits.”

Healthy benefits of onions

Studies show that onions are heart-healthy, act as a natural anti-inflammatory, combat cancer, reduce the risk of diabetes, and can even boost bone mass.

Heart health: Research suggests that onions may help lower high cholesterol and blood pressure and improve circulation when coupled with a healthy diet and active lifestyle (sorry, there is no such thing as a miracle food — you still have to do your part in maintaining a healthy diet and exercising).

Anti-inflammatory: “Onions are a natural source of flavonoids, most notably quercetin which in recent studies have shown to help reduce chronic inflammation associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease,”says Reddin. Inflammation is also a culprit in cancer and many other chronic diseases. Learn more about the anti-inflammatory diet.

Reduced risk of diabetes: “Onions are also high in vitamin C, and a good source of fiber and chromium. Plus they have been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels which is important for managing diabetes,” Reddin adds.

Increasing bone mass: A 2009 analysis of the 2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey concluded that onion consumption seems to benefit bone density in peri-menopausal and post-menopausal non-Hispanic white women 50 years and older. Older women who eat onions frequently may decrease their risk of hip fracture by more than 20 percent compared to those who never consume them.

Don’t let onions bring you to tears

Regardless of the health bennies, if you’re reluctant to cook with onion because you don’t want to run your mascara, then take this tip from the National Onion Association:

Chill an onion before cutting to prevent tears. Using a sharp knife and making clear, precise cuts are imperative. The more cuts you make, the more cellular damage you will cause which releases the chemicals that cause your eyes to produce tears. Dice wisely.

And if it’s onion breath that you want to avoid, eat a couple of parsley sprigs. “The tradition of putting parsley on a plate was to give diners an after-dinner palate cleanser. Parsley oil also helps to cleanse the upper GI tract,” Reddin explains.

More vegan diet tips!

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