Many of us do not like onions because they make us cry. However, there are so many health benefits of onions, we shouldn’t go a day without them. The truth is that every vegetable comes with unique health benefits. Onions are no different as they are loaded with lots of nutrients.
Onions, just like garlic, leeks, chives, and shallots, are from the Allium genus. This makes them vegetables. They contain a lot of minerals, vitamins, and several powerful plant compounds. This makes them very important in sustaining human health.
From ancient times until now, man has discovered several health benefits of onions. As a result of research, we have discovered onion benefits for skin, onion benefits for men, onion benefits for hair, etc.
In this post, we will focus on the health benefits of onions alone. You should find this post interesting and enlightening as well.
Impressive health benefits of onions
Loaded with nutrients
The best way to describe onion is that they are nutrient-dense. What this implies is that they contain a lot of vitamins and minerals and have very low-calorie content. A medium-sized onion, for example, contains 44 calories which are very little compared to its vitamin, mineral, and fiber content.
Onions contain a very high amount of vitamin C. This nutrient is renowned for being involved in the production of collagen, iron absorption, immune health regulation, and tissue repair. Asides this, vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant that protects the cells against damage from free radicals.
Onions are also recognized for their high content of B vitamins such as pyridoxine (B6) and folate (B9. These play a major role in the production of red blood cells, nerve function, and maintaining metabolism.
Finally, onions contain lots of potassium. This is one mineral that many people lack or do not consume so much of. Fluid balance, kidney function, muscle contraction, and normal cellular function are all dependent on potassium.
Great for a healthy heart
The antioxidants and other compounds present in onions are potent in combating inflammation, reduce cholesterol levels, and decrease triglycerides. This means that onions are very important to maintain a healthy heart and reduce the risk of heart disease.
The anti-inflammatory properties of onions are also potent against blood clots and high blood pressure. One of the flavonoid antioxidants present in onions is Quercetin. It has been recorded that it helps in avoiding heart disease and reducing high blood pressure.
Several pieces of research support these facts as the effect of onions have been studied on both humans and several animals. This is regarded as one of the most important health benefits of onions.
Contains lots of antioxidants
A simple way to define antioxidants is that they inhibit oxidation. Why do we need to inhibit oxidation in the human body? It is simple, oxidation results in cellular damage and is a major contributor to the development of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
There are more than 25 recognized flavonoid antioxidants present in onions. As a matter of fact, red onions contain anthocyanins. These are special pigments that give the onions their red color. It has been recorded that people who consume onions with anthocyanins are less prone to heart disease.
Anthocyanins protect the body from diabetes and different types of cancer. So this is the bottom line, if you want to avoid heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, you should consume more onions.
Contains cancer-combating compounds
Vegetables under the Allium genus are known to be potent in reducing the risk of certain types of cancer. Onion and garlic happen to be the most popular vegetables in this genus. The most common cancers that can be avoided using these vegetables are colorectal and stomach cancers.
According to several studies, people who consume vegetables under this genus are 22% less prone to stomach cancer. Again, 16% of these people are less likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
Wondering why onion has these cancer-combating properties? It is probably because of the high sulfur and flavonoid antioxidant contents of these vegetables. A simple example is a fact that onion contains onioninA which is a sulfur-containing compound. Onionin A helps to reduce the development of tumors and slow down the spread of lung and ovarian cancers.
Other flavonoid antioxidants present in onions that inhibit the growth of tumors are quercetin and fisetin. It is not on record that onions will cure cancers, but they can surely reduce the risk of having cancers.
Controls Blood Sugar
One of the major health benefits of onions is that they help to control blood sugar. This is why it is very important for people diagnosed with prediabetes and diabetes to eat lots of onions. According to one study, certain people eating 3.5 ounces of fresh red onion were able to reduce their fasting blood sugar significantly. Results showed that in four hours, they had reduced the sugar levels by 40mg/dl.
Even in studies involving animals, it is evident that the red onion is able to reduce blood sugar considerably. This is basically because onions contain some sulfur compounds that have antidiabetic effects.
One of these compounds is quercetin which interacts with the cells in the pancreas, small intestine, fat tissue, liver, and skeletal muscle. This way, it is able to control and regulate the sugar content in the bloodstream.
Boosts Bone Density
While dairy products seem to get most of the credit when it comes to bone health, several other foods contribute as well. One of such foods that ensure you have strong bones is the onion. Onions help to improve the mineral density of the bones. They also help to increase the antioxidant activity of the bones.
Better bone density means healthier bones this means there is less chance of having fractures and dislocations. Onions are also helpful in reducing bone loss thus preventing osteoporosis. By just eating onions, you can boost your antioxidant levels and reduce oxidative stress.
Possess Antibacterial Properties
Onions help your body to combat bacteria that have the potential to be dangerous. Examples of such bacteria include Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli (E.coli), Bacillus cereus, and Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus).
One of the main benefits of onion juice is that it reduces the growth of Vibrio cholera. This bacteria is a huge cause for concern in developing countries. Particularly, quercetin is very potent in combating the development of bacteria. Several have presented us with lots of facts about how quercetin can be used in inhibiting the growth of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Helicobacter pylori.
H.pylori is associated with certain cancers in the digestive tract as well as stomach ulcers. On the other hand, MRSA causes infections in different parts of the human body and it is resistant to antibiotics.
Boosts Digestive Health
Onions contain lots of prebiotics and fiber. These compounds are very important in supporting the health of the gut. Prebiotics are also fiber, only that they are non-digestible in nature. The only way prebiotics can be broken down is by the beneficial gut bacteria.
Boosting digestive health is one of the very important health benefits of onions. When gut bacteria feed on prebiotics, they create short-chain fatty acids. Some of these fatty acids include butyrate, propionate, and acetate.
According to results from several pieces of research, these short-chain fatty acids help to optimize gut health and reduce inflammation. They also enhance digestion and boost immunity.
There are several other advantages of eating foods that contain lots of prebiotics like onions. One of these advantages is that it increases your probiotics which are helpful for digestive health. These foods also help you absorb important minerals such as calcium better. As you know, minerals help to ensure that you have healthy bones.
Finally, on this point, onions contain fructooligosaccharides and inulin which are very potent prebiotics to the gut. They help in growing the number of friendly bacteria in this part of the body while improving immune function.
An Easy Addition to Regular Diet
Anywhere you go in the world, you will likely find an onion in each kitchen you visit. This is how popular onions are. People use them to add flavor to savory dishes as they can be eaten cooked or raw. You shouldn’t also forget the fact that onions boost your intake of minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
Let’s help you with a few tips on adding onions to your diet:
- Add onions to the guacamole recipe to kick up the flavor.
- Get caramelized onions and add them to baked goods.
- Add onions to your different egg dishes like frittatas, quiches, or omelets.
- Use sautéed onions to top chicken, tofu, and beef.
- Throw some onions into your stir-fry dishes.
- Use some garlic and onion as the base stock for different soups.
- Prepare your vegetable soup with hearty onions.
- For tasty homemade salad dressing, blend vinegar, olive oil, fresh herbs, and some onions.
Health Benefits of Onions-Conclusion
The health benefits of onions are quite impressive as onions have tons of powerful compounds. These compounds help to reduce the risk of cancers and heart disease among many other health conditions. Onions are versatile and can be added in different ways to your diet. You should definitely add onions to your diet so you can enjoy all these benefits.