Onions (Allium cepa) belong to the lily family, the same family as garlic, leeks, chives, scallions and shallots. Most onion cultivars are about 89% water, 4% sugar, 1% protein, 2% fibre and 0.1% fat. They contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, folic acid and numerous other nutrients in small amounts. Onions are a true gift from nature, even if they do make you cry. Below are a few well known health benefits of onions.
1. Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
For centuries, onions have been used to reduce inflammation and heal infections. The quercetin found in onions, along with other substances, help promote a healthy immune system. So far, there is no better food source of quercitin than onion skins. The anti-inflammatory agents in onion are useful in reducing the symptoms of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and gout.
2. Fight Cancer
Onion extracts, rich in a variety of sulfides, provide some protection against tumor growth. Some studies have showed, regular consumption of onions helps to reduce the risk of several cancers such as colorectal cancer, oral cancer, laryngeal cancer, stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, and ovarian cancer. Remember that they must be eaten raw and chewed well or chopped finely before cooking to initiate the chemical reaction that forms the protective sulfur compounds. When you cut onions and your eyes begin to tear, they are creating the anti-cancer sulfur compounds.
3. Remedy for Cold and Flu
Onion is also a great remedy for cold and flu. It has been long used as a remedy for cold and cough, bronchitis and influenza. Equal amounts of onion juice and honey should be mixed and 3-4 teaspoons should be consumed daily to treat these conditions. Take a look at the Home remedies for Flu and Cold.
4. Relieve Tooth Disorders
This may seem odd since onions can cause bad breath, but chewing raw onion is known to improve the strength of the teeth and fight off bacteria which can cause tooth decay. Chewing a raw onion for two to three minutes could kill all the germs in the mouth. Placing a small piece of onion on the affected tooth or bad tooth can also help in relieving toothache.
5. Glowing Skin
The onions help in stimulating the circulation of blood in the mucous membrane. Onion juice mixed with honey or olive oil is said to be best treatment for treating symptoms or signs of acne. Warts also sometimes disappear when rubbed with cut onions.
6. Boosts Sexual Drive
Onion have been attributed aphrodisiac properties since ancient times. Onions were considered so potent that in ancient times celibate Egyptian priests prohibited from eating them. In France, newly weds were fed onion soup in morning after their wedding night to restore their libido. One table spoon of onion juice along with one spoonful of ginger juice, taken three times a day, can boost the libido and sex drive. For this, the white variety is most effective.
7. Prevents Blood Clot
Onion is very good anti coagulant food. The sulfur contents in the onions can suppress clumping of platelets thereby help in preventing blood clot. In fact, onions have a truly wonderful ability to counteract the detrimental clot promoting effects of fatty foods.
8. Cardiovascular Improvement
Onions act as anticoagulants to help prevent the formation of blood clots, allowing blood to circulate smoothly. Without the clogs and clots in arteries, heart attack and heart disease risks drop. The regular consumption of onion has been shown to lower high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. This is attributed to the sulfur compounds, chromium, and vitamin B6 in onions, which helps prevent heart disease by lowering high homocysteine levels, another potential risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
9. Maintain Bone Health
A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry revealed that onions also possess the ability of building connective tissue and bone health due to a newly identified substance in it called growth plate chondrocytes (GPCs). Especially beneficial for women who are at risk for osteoporosis as they go through menopause.