Onions are the most versatile vegetables all across the planet. They are the most prominent members of every kitchen. From being eaten raw in salads and salas, to being a part of a curry; Onions blend in each dish almost perfectly. Apart from being a delicious additions to all our dishes, the health benefits of onions exceed that of more similar vegetables. Read the entire article and the tabs below to learn all about onions and its heath benefits. Hey, get a tip on how to ensure that you do not have teary eyes, in our ‘Storage and Cleaning’ Tab.
Onions are also know as common onion or bulb onions. The are used as a vegetable and are also eaten raw in form of salads. Due to their versatile nature, Onions are cultivated all across the world and are an indispensable part of the kitchen. The health benefits of onions includes improving immunity, regulating blood sugar levels and healing infections.
There are many different types of Onions based on their color as well as the region in which they are grown. The three varieties that are most common are brown onion, red onions and white onions.
Brown Onions: These types of onions have a brown or almost yellow skin. They are quite strong in their flavor due to which they are most suitable for cooking and a part of your vegetable recipes. The pungent aroma, strong flavor and creamy flesh, make it the most widely used types of onions.
Red Onions: Red onions are also called Spanish Onions are certain places. These onions have a purplish red skin. The interior of the onion is generally white with a tinge of redness. When fresh, the red onions have a mild flavor. However, as majority of the onions are stored for a long time, this one (when stored) can become quite pungent and strong. These onions generally are larger in sizes. They are generally eaten raw (in salads), grilled or lightly cooked with other foods.
White Onions: These onions tend to have a sharper and more pungent flavor than yellow onions. They are also more tender and have a thinner, more papery skin. They can be cooked just like yellow onions. However, due to their white color they are also loved to be eaten as minced onion or added raw to salsa and chutneys.
There are many more subtle variations in these varieties and you can learn all about them here. However, no matter what is the type of onion that you are using, each one of them are packed with nutrients and the health benefits of onions are numerous in nature. You can learn about all of them in the Tab ‘Health Benefits’.
You can learn more about onions, how to cut then (so that you do not have watery eyes), how to store them. The nutrients in onions and health benefits of onions in our respective tabs. Also, do not forget to read the possible side effects of eating too much onions.
Other sources of information on health benefits of onions and onions in general
Onions are indispensable in the kitchen, and because they keep so well, they’re available all year round.
Storage: Onions can last for several weeks without compromising their taste or nutritional value. However, you must be sure to store them in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place. Once you cut an onion, wrap whatever portion you don’t use in plastic wrap, and put it in the refrigerator. It will keep about 4 days.
Cleaning & Cutting: Cut an onion in half vertically, Place the halves “cut side down” on the cutting board, Cut off the unusable portions at the top and bottom of each half, Peel back the top layer of each onion half, Rinse the onion halves under cold water to remove any peel residue. Rinsing also reduces the residue that causes your eyes to water when handling onions.
How to Buy: When you buy onions, be sure to look for firm onions that are free of cuts and blemishes.
Special Steps: Keep onions away from potatoes when you store them. Onions will absorb moisture from the potatoes, causing the onions to spoil.
TIP: There are many ways to ensure that teary eyes when you cut onions, some of them are listed below:
1) Place the onion in the freezer for 1-5 minutes,
2) Soak the peeled onion in cold water for 5 minutes before chopping,
3) Chew gum while cutting the onion,
4) Place a burning candle next to the cutting board,
5) Breath through your nose, or
6) Hold a heel of bread sticking out of your mouth, or
7) Aim a light fan over the cutting surface.
8) Dip the knife in canola oil before you start
9) Dip onions in cold water for 10 minutes and then cut.
However, we must say that some of the tricks work better than the rest. Freezing the onion and soaking the onion in cold water are probably the best and most effective means.
Onions are rich source of chromium, the trace mineral that helps tissue cells respond appropriately to insulin levels in the blood. They are an also good source of antioxidant flavonoid quercetin, which is found to have anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic functions.
Mineral Content: Onions are a very good source of biotin. They are also a good source of manganese, copper, dietary fiber, phosphorus, potassium and folate.
Vitamin & Compounds: Onions are good in antioxidant vitamin, vitamin-C, B-complex group of vitamins like pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, folates thiamin, Pyridoxine, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B6.
Water Content: Onion is 89 percent water by weight.
Carbohydrate Content: Onion provide only 40 calories per 100 g
Onions are healthy whether they’re raw or cooked, though raw onions have higher levels of organic sulfur compounds that provide many benefits. The possible health benefits of consuming onions include lowering the risk of several types of cancer, improving mood and maintaining the health of skin and hair.
Anti-inflammatory: Onions’ sulfurs may be effective anti-inflammatory agents.
Immune system: “The polyphenols in onions act as antioxidants, protecting the body against free radicals,” Eliminating free radicals can help encourage a strong immune system.
Cancer: Quercetin may be a powerful anti-cancer agent, quercetin may especially inhibit cancer cells in “breast, colon, prostate, ovarian, endometrial, and lung tumors.”
Digestion: The fiber in onions promotes good digestion and helps keep you regular. Additionally, onions contain a special type of soluble fiber called oligofructose, which promotes good bacteria growth in your intestines.
Diabetes: The chromium in onions assists in regulating blood sugar. The sulfur in onions helps lower blood sugar by triggering increased insulin production.
Bone density in older women: A 2009 study in the journal Menopause found that daily consumption of onions improves bone density in women who are going through or have finished menopause.
Heart Health: Onions encourage a healthy heart in many ways, including “lowering blood pressure and lowering heart attack risk.” Sulfur acts as a natural blood thinner and prevents blood platelets from aggregating. When platelets cluster, the risk for heart attack or stroke increases.
Sleep and mood: Folate, found in onions, may help with depression by preventing an excess of homocysteine from forming in the body, which can prevent blood and other nutrients from reaching the brain. Excess homocysteine interferes with the production of the feel-good hormones serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate not only mood, but also sleep and appetite as well.
Skin and hair: Adequate intake of vitamin C is needed for the building and maintenance of collagen, which provides structure to skin and hair.
Calcium: Improvement of intestinal flora, improved absorption of calcium and magnesium due to the fructans they contain.
Anemia: The high content of iron in onion makes it beneficial for the treatment of anemia.
Anti-coagulant: Just by eating half a medium raw onion daily can significantly lower cholesterol and help prevent heart attacks.
Anti-septic: Fights infection bacteria, including E.coli and salmonella, and is effective against tuberculosis and infections of the urinary tract, such as cystitis.
Blood pressure: Whether you eat it raw or cooked, onions help to lower blood pressure naturally. It also thins the blood, dissolve blood clots and clear the blood of unhealthy fats.
Cholesterol: Eating half a medium raw onion daily significantly helps to correct thrombosis, lower the LDL cholesterol and prevents heart attacks.
Constipation and flatulence: Add plenty onion in your cooking to help relieve chronic constipation and flatulence.
Diuretic and blood cleansing: Help counter fluid retention, urinary gravel, arthritis and gout.
Ear disorder: In some culture, cotton wool is dipped into onion juice and put into the ear to stop ringing in the ear.
Hair loss: A study has shown that applying onion juice on scalp twice a week for 2 months will cause hair regrowth. Definitely cost much less that those hair tonic.
Respiratory: Mix equal amounts of onion juice and honey and take 3-4 teaspoons of this mixture daily. It helps liquefy mucus and prevents its further formation. It is also one of the best preventive potion against common cold.
Sexual debility: Onion is a potent aphrodisiac and stands second only to garlic. For this, the white variety is most effective.
Urinary tract infection: Boil some onion in water till half of the water evaporated. Sieve the onion water, leave to cool and drink. The anti-bacterial properties help to relieve the burning sensation in urination.
Weight Management: Onions are rich in sulphur, fibers, potassium, vitamin B, vitamin C and they are low in fat, cholesterol and sodium.
Fever: A small piece of onion can work against side effects of fever if it’s kept on the fore head.
Nose Bleeding: A small piece of onion when inhaled can stop or slow down the bleeding through the nose.
Skin: Onion juice can cure burnt skin or an insect bite or a bee bite. It may burn more but it can heal it very effectively.
Ache: Onions should be fried in sesame or castor oil and can be used to heal any aches.
Face: One of the well-known tricks to remove dark patches or pigments on your face is to apply onion and turmeric juice on that area.
Tooth: Onions is also used for toothaches and tooth decaying.
Memory: For good memory and strong nervous system, consuming onions is your best bet.
Menstrual disorder: Onions cure menstrual disorders. Raw onions should be consumed before a few days at the beginning of your cycle.
Intestinal Gas: The stomach is unable to digest most sugars and they must pass into the intestines where bacteria can break down the sugar in a process that forms gas. Since onions naturally contain fructose, this can be a source of gas for some people.
Allergies: Onions can have allergic reaction to some people causing symptoms such as blurred vision, bronchial asthma, contact dermatitis, intense itching, rhino-conjunctivitis, sweating or anaphylaxis.
Heartburn: Heartburn is a condition where stomach acids flow upward into the esophagus and create a painful burning sensation in the chest. Onions can actually worsen these symptoms in those who have chronic heartburn or gastric reflux disease.
Bad Breath: Onions increase flatulence and bad breath.
As mentioned onions can be a part of any preparation in your kitchen, you may yourself be aware of many delicious dishes that onions can be a part of. We bring to you some dishes that are made solely from Onions or onions as the main ingredient.
1) Onion Rings: Crunchy onion rings to all occasions.
2) Grilled Onion Salad: A health bonanza
3) French Onion Soup: A perfect companion for a chilly day!
4) Caramelized Onion & White Bean Flatbread: Give Pizza a rest, try this recipe