Friday, September 11, 2015 by Greg White
Onions are a treat that make you weep. Botanically known as Allium cepa, onions are bulbous vegetables that are grown almost all over the world. They are characterized by their pungent aroma, crunchy texture and sharp flavor. Despite their widespread use, the pungent aroma causes many people to steer clear of onions. Nevertheless, several studies and tests have found that there are many health benefits attached to onions. They contain essential phytonutrients that can boost the immune system and keep various illnesses at bay. Here are 10 ways you can reap, rather than weep, the health benefits of onions.
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid that is present mainly in red and yellow onions. It is known for its antioxidant properties, which can help eliminate free radicals. Whenever free radicals are in the bloodstream, they can damage cells and restrict metabolic processes. Onions also have therapeutic effects on the heart and blood vessels. A 2010 study published in Molecular Aspects of Medicine underlined the fact that onions can prevent inflammation of tissue cells. This also helps keeps arteries and veins unclogged, thus significantly improving your overall cardiovascular health.
Onions can be effective in controlling the onset of type 2 diabetes, a condition that is caused by the retention of sugar in the blood. Sugar in the blood is metabolized by the hormone insulin, which is secreted by the pancreas. Most cases of diabetes are caused by the pancreas’s inability to produce enough insulin. Onions contain chromium, an element that vastly improves the functioning of the pancreas. The chromium in onions can naturally treat insulin deficiency in diabetics.
In addition, onions have a low glycemic index of 10, which means that they contain a low amount of carbohydrate sugars. It is, therefore, safe for diabetics to eat onions, all while bringing down their blood sugar levels as well.
The pungent smell of onions is due to the presence of various sulfur compounds, which are collectively known as organosulfur compounds. A 1990 study, which is now filed in the International Archives of Allergy and Applied Immunology, states that the organosulfur compounds present in onion have considerable anti-inflammatory properties. The organosulfurs can help reduce symptoms of chronic allergy and asthma.
The quercetin present in onions can suppress the growth of the rhinovirus in the body, which is the microbe responsible for common colds. Consuming onions can improve the body’s immunity against recurring colds in people who are susceptible to the virus.
The immune system protects the human body from outside ailments; it keeps the body safe from diseases. Onions contain several polyphenol compounds, including quercetin, which give them their antioxidant properties. A benefit of these antioxidants is that they can remove free radicals and thus make the body’s defense system stronger against pathogenic attacks. Furthermore, onions are also antihistaminic, meaning they can lower levels of histamine, a hormone that is involved in allergies allergies and makes people react violently to certain substances.
All onions contain naturally occurring cancer-preventing compounds. The chief of them are quercetin and allicin, which are present in red and yellow onions. Both these compounds can help prevent cells from multiplying uncontrollably, which is the basic cause of cancerous tumors. Darker onions, shallots and Western Yellows are rich in antioxidants that can protect the body from inflammation. Antioxidants continuously repair the body by removing free radicals that are toxic to the body. The antioxidants in Western Yellow onions are particularly good at preventing the multiplication of liver and stomach cells.
Like most vegetables, onions contain a high amount of fiber. A specific fiber that is found in onions is oligofructose. This carbohydrate fiber can help aid digestion. Specifically, oligofructose has a stimulating effect on the growth of intestinal bacteria that assist in digestion. For people who are trying to lose weight, onions are a good option. The fibrous content in them reduces appetite, which causes people to eat less. Onions may also help keep different kinds of diarrhea and gastric ulcers at bay.
The fiber in onions also aids in the elimination of waste from the human body, which can prevent constipation and induce easier bowel movements. This helps keep the body clean, which is necessary for overall good health. Eating an onion with a meal can help the body process out toxic materials that lace food.
Onions are laden with anti-inflammatory properties, which makes them an effective natural way to fight against skin problems like acne. The anti-inflammatory compounds can decimate the bacteria at the base of sweat pores that cause acne. The chemicals present in onions also help in allaying the redness and soreness of acne. You can used onions as an acne treatment by mixing their juice with a dash of olive oil or honey, and applying it directly on the afflicted skin.
Onions impart a disagreeable mouth odor. If used rightly, however, this pungent vegetable can be used to improve dental quality. The antibacterial phytonutrients and phytochemicals that are present in onions help destroy most of the germs that cause problems such as dental cavities. Chomping on an onion for a few minutes a day can give the mouth some bacterial resistance. To get rid of the odor, a mouth freshener can be used later.
Onions are also known to improve bone density in people, including senior women who suffer from osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. These conditions are caused by post-menopausal hormonal imbalances that deplete bone minerals. A 2009 study published in the magazine Menopause found that senior women who included onions in their daily diet had a better bone density than those who didn’t include onions in their diet. The onion diet also seemed to reduce the occurrence of other threatening conditions, such as a hip fracture.
Onions are more than a staple of the American kitchen. They are loaded with phytochemicals and nutrients that can combat a host of ailments. It’s easy to incorporate onions into your diet. They can be consumed raw or grilled, and sprinkled onto a variety of dishes, including salads, sandwiches and fajitas. Keep various illnesses at bay with an onion a day.