Onion is an important and indispensable item and can be found in almost every kitchen around the world. The green leaves and bulbs are eaten either raw or used in the preparation of several recipes. This article focuses on the nutritional benefits of this important condiment.
Onions are used in soups, sauces and for seasoning foods. The small bulbs and shallots are pickled in vinegar or brine.
Onions, and other allium species (over 900 types of onion), are highly valued herbs possessing a lot of culinary and medicinal values. Some of their beneficial properties are seen after long-term usage.
Onion is useful for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, especially since it diminishes the risk of blood clots. Onion protects against certain infections and stomach cancer.
Onion improves lung function, especially in asthmatics. The more pungent varieties of onion appear to possess the greatest concentration of health-promoting phytochemicals.
Some nutritional highlights of onions
- Onions are a very good source of vitamin C, B6, biotin, chromium, calcium and dietary fibre. In addition, they contain a good amount of folic acid and vitamin B1 and K.
- One hundred grams of serving provides 44 calories, mostly as complex carbohydrates, with 1.4gm of fibre.
- Onions contain an enzyme called alliinase, which is released when an onion is cut or crushed and causes our eyes to water.
- They also contain flavonoids, which are pigments that give vegetables their colour. These compounds act as antioxidants, have a direct antitumor effect and have immune enhancing properties.
- Onions contain a large amount of sulphur and are especially good for the liver. As a sulphurous food, they mix best with proteins, as they stimulate the action of the amino acids to the brain and nervous system.
Detoxify your body with onions
- Onions contain a variety of organic sulphur compounds that provide health benefits.
- Sulphur-containing amino acids are found in onions as well as garlic and eggs.
- These specific amino acids are called methionine and cystine. Amongst other things, they are very good at detoxifying our body from heavy metals.
- In fact, they are able to latch on to mercury, cadmium and lead and escort them out of the body.
- Onions also contain vitamin C, which is excellent at detoxifying the body and is effective in removing lead, arsenic and cadmium. So increasing consumption of onions can help our body to get rid of these harmful metals.
Onions are a rich source of Quercetin
- It is the richest dietary source of quercetin, a potent antioxidant flavonoid (also found in shallots, yellow and red onions), which is found on and near the skin and is particularly linked to the health benefits of onions.
- Quercetin thins the blood, lowers cholesterol, raises good-type HDL cholesterol, prevents blood clots, fights asthma, chronic bronchitis, hay fever, diabetes, atherosclerosis and infections and is specifically linked to inhibiting human stomach cancer.
- It is also an anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antiviral. It is also a sedative. So far, there is no better food source of quercetin than onion skins.