Onion health benefits and therapeutic value

Onion (Allium cepa) is a bulb plant that belongs to the Liliaceae or lily family and that can grow more than 3 feet (1 meter) high when it is flowering.

Unknown in the wild and cultivated today on all the world’s continents, onion was one of the first food plants domesticated by man.

It is known also for its great many health benefits and therapeutic properties.

Health benefits of onion

Its appeal lies in its taste as much as in its nutritional value. Whether white, yellow or red, onion is a vegetable and a spice known in foremost for its diuretic, stimulating and antibacterial properties.

  • With high levels of polyphenols and containing selenium and copper, onion is a nutritious food with antioxidant properties. It protects the body against free radicals which tend to increase cell aging, seems to reduce occurrence of various cancers and helps straighten the kinks of our immune system and nervous system.
  • Onion is also excellent for skin and hair health.
  • Thanks to its diuretic properties, raw onion is a good idea for persons suffering of kidney deficiency or prostate disorders.
  • Quercetin compounds found in onion are particularly recommended for persons suffering of hypercholesterolemia: connected to a healthy diet, onion has the power to lower “bad” cholesterol levels in the blood.
  • Emollient and softening activity of cooked onion makes it an effective expectorant in case of rebellious cough. Moreover, its mucolytic properties have a positive impact in preventing respiratory infections.
  • Cooked onion stimulates the appetite and digestion. It helps deal with flatulence and constipation and has “cleansing” properties.
  • Used in topical preparations, a slice of raw onion is an effective antibiotic in case of skin infection (boil, paronychia), insect bites, or itchiness thanks to its anti-inflammatory and anti-infectious activity.

Growing onion for its health benefits

  • To ensure proper development and maturing of the bulbs, plant your onions in full sun. As for the soil type, avoid clay-laden soil and prefer it light, soft and well drained. Note that onion doesn’t tolerate soil acidity. Best results are in siliceous-clay soil.
  • Don’t even try growing it in pots, it wouldn’t feel at ease and growth would be hampered.

Cooking onion for its health benefits

onion health benefitsOnion is eaten raw and fresh in mixed salads and sandwiches. Be careful though, raw onion might not be well digested by persons with a weak digestive tract.

Cooked onion can be savored stuffed, in pies, in fried rings, mashed, added to soup or baked in the oven.

It is a great side and spices up meat and fish and pairs well with most vegetables. It is a core ingredient of many sauces and pâté.

Fresh onion bunches don’t keep for more than a week in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. Dried onion on the other hand keeps very well in a dark, dry spot, to avoid it germinating.

Onion Nutritional content

Raw onion, on average, provides 43 kcal / 3.5 oz (100 g), and when cooked this drops to 30 kcal / 3.5 oz (100 g).

Onion has very high vitamintrace elementcalciumphosphorus and magnesium content.

Smart tip about onions and health

Try to include different varieties in your diet, since their nutritional and health value differs from one variety to the next.

It isn’t that one single variety stands out above all others, but rather that each variety may be a boost in different types of ailments.

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  • Dipali Roy wrote on 25 August 2018 at 15 h 13 min

    Thank you, for representing this kind of valuable information and total this information is mesmerizing. but if you more elaborate how to Onion fight against cancer so I will be thankful to you.

    • Gaspard Lorthiois wrote on 26 August 2018 at 10 h 32 min

      Hello! Thank you for your kind message! Actually, onions have at least two compounds that are considered active against cancers: flavonoids and phenols. These have the merit of neutralizing free radicals that may be circulating and reducing proliferation of cancerous cells (lowering their multiplication rate). Furthermore, these onion phenolic and flavonoid compounds reduce the body’s natural production of free radicals. Why is it important to control and block free radicals? As regards cancer, free radicals tend to damage DNA and RNA inside the cells, producing mutations that may ultimately lead to cancer or worsen existing cases. Of course, onions alone won’t save you if you only rely on them to treat cancer. They’re best as a preventive treatment when you simply add them to your diet, or to support existing treatments. If ever you feel pain, or even on a regular basis, you should have a check-up with your doctor so he can prescribe adequate treatments. I hope this answers your question – if you need more help, feel free to ask! In the meantime, I’ll expand the article a bit to include this information.

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