Onions and their multi-layered benefits


Do you know your onions? The ubiquitous backbone of so many cuisines, their price has stirred political crises and even brought down governments, while they have an aroma that every street vendor knows is irresistible, triggering an almost irresistible impulse to eat. Steamed, boiled or roasted onions are a fantastic side dish to any meal, but perhaps what’s even more extraordinary is eating as few as 2-3 onions per week can have a positive impact on health. Add onions to stews, chilli, curries, salsa and casseroles – if 2-3 per week is good for you, think what 5-6 might do!

Onions – as many benefits as layers

A great source of prebiotics – the feeder of probiotics, the friendly bacteria in the gut and an important building block of our immune system – onions also contain powerful compounds such as quercetin, while high levels of chromium add even more extraordinary advantages.

  • Quercetin is a potent antioxidant – even more so than vitamin E – and is a natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory, shown to aid hay fever sufferers, according to Dutch research. It may even help reduce symptoms like fatigue, depression and anxiety. While quercetin is also found in tea and apples, the absorption from onions is twice that from tea and three times that from apples. In this regard, it’s also worth mentioning that onions don’t have to be eaten raw, as quercetin is relatively stable through the cooking process.
  • Chromium helps maintain a positive hormone balance that might aid symptoms such as PMS. It can also reduce blood glucose levels, insulin levels and cholesterol.

Onions are a rich source of flavonoids, which can aid in reducing the risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that people whose diets with foods high in flavonoids benefited from a 20% reduction in the risk of heart disease. And for those who like robust flavours, according to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, onions with a strong flavour and high astringency appear to have higher total antioxidants and phytonutrients, which could help fight cancer cells.

Now, you know your onions!

For a delicious snack, try the Just Routine’s Roasted Onion and Fig Flatbread – download the app for free.

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Iris is the founder of No Targets Just Routine. She has researched food since 2009 and believes “Happiness is real food shared with loved ones.”

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