As a kid, if there was a list of vegetables I hated with a pure passion, onions would probably top the list. I hated it when my mother made me peel or slice onions. The eye-watering torture was enough to frighten any kid my age.
Now, as an adult, I am fascinated by the amazing benefits of this superfood, which kind of makes the whole eye-watering process of slicing them worth it.
Scientifically known as Allium Cepa, onions are a superfood, a gift of nature, and one of the best things that ever happened to human beings. (Okay, before you begin to think this is one onion-crazed fellow, you should keep reading to learn about all the amazing things onions can do for you)
On understanding what onions can really do, it leaves us in jaw-dropping awe of this vegetable. Onions are often considered as one of the world’s healthiest foods, loaded with essential nutrients. There are numerous species of onions. Some of the more common ones are:
- Yellow onions
The flesh is usually white with heavy brown skin with a strong and sulfur-like aroma.
- Sweet onions
These have a lighter, less-opaque skin that surrounds a larger and slightly fatter body of the vegetable.
- White onions
These have a papery white skin, and they are milder and sweeter than their yellow counterparts.
- Red onions
Both skin and flesh are a deep rouge and they are mild and sweet enough to be eaten raw.
These are smaller and brown-skinned and have purple flesh.
- Green onions
These are the budding onions that haven’t yet formed a bulb.
Basically, onions come in different colors, sizes and can be eaten raw or cooked.
A largely sized onion consists:
3.4 % fiber
18.6 g of carbohydrates
2.2 g of protein
0.02 g of omega 6
3.4 g of fiber
8.4 grams of sugar.
Onions contain various essential vitamins and minerals. They are also a great source of vitamins B6, B9 and C, folate, and potassium. They also contain various phytonutrients such as anthocyanins, quercetin, sulfur compounds.
It is obvious that this vegetable is super packed with healthful nutrients, which are extremely beneficial to the body. Let’s tell you how!
Strengthens the Immune System
Want a stronger immune system? Onions are definitely a winner. They are one of the natural ways to build a stronger immunity. Onions are believed to shield the body from various diseases due to their Vitamin C content coupled with the phytonutrients present in this vegetable, which gives them the antioxidant effect.
So, one may ask, how do you get cancer? Well, free radicals that invade the body and cause abnormal cell growth lead to cancer.
Fortunately, with phytonutrients such as quercetin and other flavonoids, onions help fight the free radicals. Another anticancer component found in onions are sulfur-compounds. These are also helpful in fighting the effects of cancer.
If you have bad eating habits or hardly exercise, then the detox path is definitely for you. Detoxing is extremely important to keep the body healthy, which would explain why it’s become so trendy these days. It helps the body flush out loads of toxins and bad cholesterol that may be harmful to the body. Onions are exceptionally good for keeping our bodies toxin-free. Due to its high concentration of sulfur compounds and amino acids, onions help clean up the digestive system and expel harmful toxins from the body. Yipee!
With the rich dietary fiber content in onions, they act as a natural laxative and aid comfortable bowel movements. Fiber is generally known to help clean the intestines and remove waste from the body. Onions also contain saponins that help relieve stomach aches and cramps.
A deficiency in Iron could result in anemia, which, unfortunately, is a fatal disease. Onions contain 0.2mg of iron per 100 gram and a substantial amount of folate. Folate is a phytochemical that helps absorb iron to its full potential and is often recommended to pregnant women.
The major challenge in managing diabetes is maintaining a safe blood sugar level. To achieve this, it is highly recommended to consume raw onions to help keep your blood sugar level in check.
Suffering from hair loss or breakage? This may be due to tons of reasons like age, stress, or inadequacy of certain nutrients. Adopting a protein and potassium-rich diet could be helpful in preventing these hair related problems. Onions are known to promote hair growth and also treat and prevent dandruff. Mixing onion juice with yogurt and leaving it on the hair for half an hour can help strengthen your hair and cleanse your scalp.
Slows Down Aging
Aging is a natural phenomenon, it is caused (prematurely) by the accumulation of the harmful elements that our skins absorb and also by the effects of free radicals. Onion, with their detoxifying and antioxidant properties, help slow down the aging process.
Onions are loaded with antifungal and antimicrobial properties, that allows it to prevent infections and viral diseases from entering the body.
Relieves Cough and Treats Flu
Suffering from either a cough or flu? It is highly recommended to add an onion in hot water when preparing tea. This will help ameliorate the condition. Onion juice added to honey can also be taken to help reduce any swelling in your throat.
Studies have found that onions contain growth plate chondrocytes and also certain compounds that help rebuild connective tissues. These can be helpful in treating bone loss.
Onions contain sulfur which improves the health of the lens of the eyes. It stimulates the production of a protein named glutathione (which functions as an antioxidant). The higher the level of glutathione, the lower the risk of glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts. Onions also contain selenium which aids the vitamin E in the eye (which protects the cells in the eye).
Great for Oral Health
As ironic as this may sound, onions do help your oral health, even though they most probably would give you bad breath. Onions contain thiosulfinates, and thiosulfonates (a.k.a the sulfur compounds) that help reduce bacteria that cause tooth decay. And eating them raw is best, as cooking might destroy some of these beneficial compounds.
They are also rich in vitamin C that can keep the teeth healthy. It is also believed that onions can relieve tooth pain.
Prevents Blood Clot
Onions have been found to contain rutin, a compound which can help prevent blood from clotting. Clots usually occur in the arteries and veins – in arteries, the clots are platelet-rich, while in veins, they are fibrin-rich. The rutin in onions helps block an enzyme called Protein Disulfide Isomerase, which is released quickly when blood clots form.
Improves Brain Health
Research suggests that onions contain certain antioxidants which bind with the harmful toxins in the brain and flush them out of the body. And the sulfur-compounds in onions can also slow down age-related memory loss. However, a part of these memory fighting properties might be lost upon cooking. Hence, you might want to eat your onions raw!
Another sulfur-compound in onions, named di-n-propyl trisulfide, improves memory impairment. Onions are also believed to treat dizziness, epilepsy, and vertigo, although this has not been scientifically proven.
Onions: Are they Really Good for you?
From the foregoing, it is obvious that this vegetable didn’t come to play. With it being a staple ingredient in many cuisines all over the world, the importance of onions cannot be overemphasized. Onions contain all the essential nutrients and antioxidants to keep you healthy generally. They improve your general health and well being. And the answer is certainly YES. Onions are good for you. So don’t forget to take your onions, either raw or cooked.