Onions are part of the allium family of vegetables and herbs, which also includes chives, garlic, scallions, and leeks. Allium vegetables have been cultivated for centuries for their characteristic, pungent flavors and also for their medicinal properties.
Onions can vary in size, shape, color, and flavor. The most common types are red, yellow, and white onions. Flavors can be sweet and juicy to sharp, spicy, and pungent, often depending on the season in which they are grown and consumed.
We all know how tasty and essential onions are in cooking, but what can they offer apart from the flavor? Well, they can be used to fight off dozens of illnesses, and to treat hundreds of conditions. Onions have been used traditionally in Eastern Europe for treating fever, rash, and other medical issues. Here are some issues that onions have proven to be effective against:
As per a study conducted by the University of Guelph, red onions are the most effective in destroying breast and colon cancer cells. These onions have high levels of quercetin and anthocyanin – two compounds that contribute to this characteristic. Onions activate the pathways that provoke the cancer cells to kill themselves. They make the environment unfavorable for cancer cells to communicate, and this inhibits their growth.
The chromium in onions assists in regulating blood sugar. The sulfur in onions helps lower blood sugar by triggering increased insulin production. One 2010 study in the journal Environmental Health Insights revealed that this might be especially helpful to people with diabetes. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics who ate red onions showed lower glucose levels for up to four hours after the meal.
Quercetin isn’t only responsible for warding cancer off; it also helps protect your body against the negative effects of stress. When you are stressed out your body produces cortisol. While cortisol is totally normal, too much of it can damage muscle tissue and cause protein breakdown in the body. That’s where quercetin-rich onions come in. During times of prolonged stress, quercetin suppresses enzyme required for cortisol release.
- Skin issues
Biotin is the ingredient in onions important for maintaining healthy skin. It is used to treat brittle nails, prevent hair loss (although research is still ongoing as to its effectiveness in this regard) and maintain skin health.
Onions are high in fiber, which is good for maintaining a healthy and regular digestive system. Fiber prevents digestive pain and breaks down food faster and more efficiently. It will also make your visits to the bathroom more regular and consistent.