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Onion – therapeutic facts

7 February 2010 Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post


Onions (Allium cepa) belong to the Allium family, the same family as garlic, leeks, chives, scallions and shallots.Onion is one of the oldest vegetables and can be found in a large number of food recipes  spanning almost the totality of the world’s cultures, being the second most important horticultural crop after tomatoes. They are commonly used to flavor dips, salads, soups, spreads, stir-fry and other dishes.

Onion and other Allium vegetables are characterized by their rich content of thiosulfinates, sulfides, sulfoxides, and other odoriferous sulfur compounds. The cysteine sulfoxides are primarily responsible for the onion flavor and produce the eye-irritating compounds that induce lacrimation. The thiosulfinates exhibit antimicrobial properties. Onion is effective against many bacteria including Bacillus subtilis and Salmonella.

Key nutrients (1 onion): 60 calories, 19% Daily Value (DV) vitamin C, 2.5 g fiber, 10% DV vitamin B6

Therapeutic values

Onions have a variety of medicinal effects against conditions ranging from the common cold to heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. Quercetin, a chemical compounds contained by onions is  believed to have anti-inflammatory, anticholesterol, anticancer, and antioxidant properties. By destroying osteoclasts onions are highly indicated for women fighting osteoporosis especially through menopause.

For all varieties of onions, the more phenols and flavonoids they contain, the more antioxidant and anti-cancer activity they provide, Western Yellow, New York Bold, and shallots onion being the most effective against liver and colon cancer cells .

Increases Immunity

Considering the therapeutic value (high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants ) onions must be consumed daily during the winter season, however, consuming large quantities of onions can lead to stomach distress. Consumed with moderation it maintains intestinal flora equilibrium  and helps digestion. Regardless it is white or read onions helps burning fat and eliminates cholesterol due to its high quantities of fibers.

Do not boil it over 5 minutes!

If boiled or fried more than 5 minutes, this vegetable losses most of its nutrient properties. To keep at least a part of its vitamins it should be added towards the end of a meal preparation. For maximum benefits it is indicated to be consumed raw or steamed.

Stay healthy!

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