Onions are botanically part of the lily (Liliaceae) family, along with garlic, shallots and leeks. Although not valued as highly as garlic, onions contain potent compounds which are known to benefit health. In this article we would like to share some of the health benefits of onions with you.
Onions form the basis of a wide variety of dishes, whether eaten raw, sautéed, baked, steamed or boiled.
Most restaurants or food joint do not exclude onions as part of their dishes, onion has traditionally become one of the key ingredients in cooking most meals today.
Daily Nubs has gone through some well researched source and would like to share some of the health benefits of onions with you.
Nutritional Profile Of Onions
An 80g of onion which has not been cooked or no heat applied provides;
120kj of energy
0.8g of protein
6.4g of carbohydrate
5.0g of sugar
1.8g of fibre
2.0mg of vitamin C
This nutritional profile shows how it is important for onions to be a major ingredient in your food.
Health Benefits Of Onions
May Support Heart Health
One of the major health benefits of onions is that it supports the health of the heart. One of the flavonoids in onion, quercetin has protective antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects and other compounds in the vegetable help to improve its heart-friendly properties. According to scientists eating onions helps to reduce the risk of getting heart diseases by lowering blood pressure, managing cholesterol levels, and reducing inflammation.
Rich In Antioxidant Compounds
Onions are loaded with plant chemicals including flavonoids, which have both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect. When consumed regularly and in sufficient quantity, these compounds may help protect against chronic conditions such as cancer and diabetes. In fact, onions contain over 25 different flavonoids and are one of the richest sources in our diets.
Onions also have sulfur-containing compounds, which have been demonstrated to be protective against certain cancers.
Used in folk medicine for the relief of coughs, colds and catarrh, studies support that onions have valuable antibacterial properties against the likes of Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphyloccus aureus. What’s more, it’s older, stored onions that appear most potent. Once again, it seems quercetin is of value here, because it has the power to inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Including onions in the diet is associated with improved bone density. This may be because of their antioxidant properties, which reduces oxidative stress and appears to reduce bone loss.
A study looking at the effect on peri- and post-menopausal women reported that frequent onion consumption decreased the risk of hip fracture. A further study on middle-aged women showed onion juice consumption reduced bone loss and improved bone density.
Onions Support Gut Health
Onions are a rich source of fiber and prebiotics, which are necessary for optimal gut health.
Additionally, consuming foods rich in prebiotics helps increase probiotics, such as Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria strains, which benefit digestive health.
A diet rich in prebiotics may help improve the absorption of important minerals like calcium, which may improve bone health.
Onions are particularly rich in the prebiotics inulin and fructooligosaccharides. These help increase the number of friendly bacteria in your gut and improve immune function.
Is Onion Good For Everyone?
Despite the numerous health benefits of onions, there are still some setbacks.
While not especially serious, eating onions can cause problems for some people. The carbohydrates in onions may cause gas and bloating.. Onions, especially if consumed raw, can worsen heartburn in people who suffer from chronic heartburn or gastric reflux disease, according to one 1990 study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology(opens in new tab).
Eating a large amount of green onions or rapidly increasing your consumption of green onions may interfere with blood thinning drugs, according to the University of Iowa(opens in new tab) . Green onions contain a high amount of vitamin K, which can decrease blood thinner functioning.
It is also possible to have a food intolerance or an allergy to onions, but cases are rare, according to an article in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology(opens in new tab). People with onion allergies may experience red, itchy eyes and rashes if an onion comes into contact with the skin. People with an intolerance to onions may experience nausea, vomiting and other gastric discomfort.
Lastly, Jarzabkowski encouraged people to make sure their onions are fresh. “Onions keep for a long time,” she said, “but they still spoil.” Onions spoil much faster if they are chopped or sliced. If you cut up your onions for later use, be sure to refrigerate them in a closed container. Research published in the Journal Food Protection that unrefrigerated yellow onions showed potential growth of E.coli and salmonella, though refrigerated ones did not.