Health Benefits of Eating Onions

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Onions are a powerful superfood.  There are many Health Benefits of Eating Onions such as anti-carcinogenic, antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties.

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Onions are part of the allium family of vegetables which include garlic, scallions, leeks and chives. Besides adding flavor to dishes, there are many Health Benefits of Eating Onions, such as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, strengthens immunity, may help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, may help to prevent certain types of cancer, and may help to regulate blood sugar levels.

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A great way to add flavor to almost any dish is by adding onions. They can be sautéed, roasted, grilled or caramelized, but they’re also great when added raw to sandwiches, salads and salsas. Mixed with celery and carrot, they make a flavorful mirepoix as a base for soup (which is a staple in my house). And during the summer months, they’re a popular add to grilled chicken burgers and kebabs.

Here’s a rundown of the variety of onions….

Yellow Onions

Yellow onions are probably the most commonly used onion.  They’re great grilled or simmered in soups and stews.

White Onions

White onions have a slightly more sharp flavor than the yellow version.  They are a little more tender with a thinner skin.  They’re also great simmered in soups and stews and added to a salsa.

Sweet Onions

These are my favorite!! I love the flavor of sweet onions.  Maui onions!!  Either  Walla Walla or  Vidalia  are the most common kinds of sweet onions. These onions have a little less of a bite to them than the yellow or white onion, and they taste a little on the sweet side.

Red Onions

Red onions are similar to the rustic yellow onion.  They’re great added to salads and salsas.  I always soak my slices of red onion in a bowl of water for about 10 minutes before serving.  It mellows the flavor tremendously.

Green Onions (also known as scallions)

Green onions are typically added to salads, salsas and stir-fried dishes.

Shallots

Shallots are typically added to salads and vinaigrettes. They’re also delicious when roasted (whole in their skins like garlic), or caramelized or sautéed slowly on low heat.

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Generally yellow and white onions contain more fiber and a higher amount of sulfur,  but red onions contain a higher amount of antioxidants and cancer prevention properties.

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Antioxidant Benefits

Red onions contain a higher amount of antioxidants and flavonoids than the yellow or white onion, and they’re a rich source of quercetin.  Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that may help fight chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Quercetin may also prevent the release of histamine, making onions a natural antihistime. Quercetin is  also beneficial for eliminating free radicals in the body.

Cancer Prevention

Due to the high amount of antioxidant properties found in red onions compared to white or yellow, red onions provide stronger protection against certain types of cancer, such as stomach, colorectal, oral, laryngeal, esophageal and ovarian cancer. For the most benefits,  it is recommended that we eat at least 3 onions each week (or half an onion a day).  The quercetin abundant in red onions have been shown to reduce inflammation and is beneficial for both the prevention and treatment of cancer.

Anti-Inflammatory

Onions act as powerful antioxidants which stimulate immune responses and reduce inflammation in our bodies.

Detoxifying

Onions are a rich source of sulfur, which helps to facilitate the detoxification process in our bodies by removing  toxins and  heavy metals.

Improves Immunity

Onions are a rich source of both vitamin C and phytochemicals which helps to strengthen our immune systems.

Regulates Blood Sugar Levels

Onions are a rich source of  biotin.  Besides being good for healthy skin and hair, biotin has many positive impacts on our health, one of which is combatting symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes.  A combination of biotin and chromium may help to improve regulating blood sugar levels and even decrease insulin resistance.

Lowers Cholesterol

Raw onion also promotes production of HDL, which is the good cholesterol that’s needed for optimal health, and reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Lowers Blood Pressure

The sulfur found in onions acts as a natural blood thinner and it prevents blood platelets from clotting, which may help to lower blood pressure and the risk of heart attack or stroke.  The powerful antioxidant Quercetin found in onions may also help to reduce the risk of  heart attack and stroke by preventing  plaque buildup in our arteries.

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The most abundant part of the onion containing antioxidant flavonoids is in the outer most layers of the onion. So try not to over peel.  If possible, try to incorporate more onions in your diet to achieve the all of the great Health Benefits of Eating Onions.

~ Deb

Sources: www.naturalnews.com, www.wholefoods.com and www.mercola.com

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