Onions are part of the allium family of vegetables and herbs, which also includes leeks, garlic, scallions and chives. People have been cultivating allium vegetables for centuries now because of their characteristic, pungent flavors but most importantly for their medicinal properties. There are different sizes, shapes, flavors and colors of onions and most common types are red, yellow and white onion. Their flavor can also vary from sweet and juicy with a mild flavor to sharp, spicy, and pungent, often depending on the season in which they are grown and consumed.
Onions are extremely beneficial and they can be used to maintain the health of skin and hair, to lower the risk of several types of cancer and to improve mood. They are considered as nutrient-dense food because while they are low in calories, they are high in beneficial nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They contain high amounts of antioxidants like quercetin which helps to relieve the body from free radicals and preserving its health. Onions can be easily juiced and consumed as such, helping with respiratory diseases because of its cleansing nature.
Each part of the onion has its own health benefits, so when you prepare your meals, make sure to slice through multiple layers.
Layer 1 – this layer is very important because it is abundant in antioxidants, antibacterial and other phytonutrients that make the onion a powerhouse for promoting health inside out.
Layer 2 – rish source of B and C vitamins, dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, phosphorus and copper.
Layer 3 – the reason why you cry when you cut onions is because this layer contains sulfur compounds and they have been shown to prevent Parkinson’s and cardiovascular disease, prevent cancer and regulate blood sugar.
Here are five other layers of benefit we derive from onions—a few of which may surprise you.
- Fights Inflammation
You already know that inflammation is the main cause of all diseases. Sadly, there are many dietary and environmental causes of inflammation within the body such as: processed foods, trans fats, sugar, refined grains, artificial sweeteners, air pollution, inadequate nutrition, personal care products and many more. According to many experts worldwide, onions contain phytochemicals that counteract excessive inflammation, promoting general health and especially efficacious for arthritis, asthma, and other respiratory ailments.
- Fever Reducer
Onions are considered as one of the main powerhouses of chicken soup. You don’t have to eat them to get the benefits, all you have to do is to put a half an onion in each sock overnight and it will help you bring down your fever.
The famous medical journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology published a study which discovered that when onion is coupled with turmeric, a synergistic chemical reaction occurs that causes pre-cancerous cell death:
“A decrease in polyp number was observed in four of the five patients at three months and four of the four patients at six months. Side effects were minimal [mild diarrhea].”
Other cancers that respond to the allicin and antioxidant quercetin in onions:
- Heart Health
Onions contain anthocyanin, a pigment that gives red onions their distinct color, which is also a potent flavonoid antioxidant that has the ability to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) blood cholesterol, with the ability to reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. Moreover, its sulfuric compounds prevent blood platelets from clumping and clogging your blood vessels, reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack.
- Skin Burns
The consumption of onion will help you relieve pain and inflammation and inhibit the formation of blisters because it is a rich source of sulfur and quercetin. All you have to do is to apply a freshly-cut onion directly to a fresh burn or sunburn to induce healing.
- Other Onion Options
Due to the fact that antioxidants are more densely concentrated in the outer layers, when you peel the top layers from the bulb, you should take off as little as possible. If you are not going to use the whole onion, you should chop it and store it raw in the freezer in order to keep its beneficial properties. Make sure to store it in an airtight glass contaier after removing as much air as possible. You can add the chopped bits right from the freezer to future meals.