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Health Benefits of Onions

Health Benefits of Onions

Onion is a common item in kitchen shelf especially in spice rack. It is sharp in taste and has a special aroma. It is considered one of the essential spices in different cuisines and salads as well.

The onion has been used for thousands of years and it is still as popular today as it’s always been. Ancient Egyptians worshiped it for its spherical form symbolizing eternal life. The onion is a member of the lily family, a close relative of garlic.  It is often called the “king of vegetables” because of its pungent taste. The word onion comes from the Latin word unio for “single,” or “one,” because the onion plant produces a single bulb, unlike its cousin, the garlic, that produces many small bulbs. The name also describes the union (also from unio) of the many separate, concentrically arranged layers of the onion.

Onion is a vegetable cultivated in almost all the countries of the world and consumed across the globe. Except for a few communities, onion is used for cooking purposes by almost all the people. Not only does the vegetable lend an excellent taste to dishes, but is also associated with imparting a number of health benefits to its users. In fact, onions are said to have therapeutic, antibacterial, antifungal and loads of other beneficial properties. Some details are given below:

Blood Sugar Lowering Effects: The higher the intake of onion, the lower the level of glucose was found during oral or intravenous glucose tolerance tests. Experimental and clinical evidence suggests that allyl propyl disulfide is responsible for this effect and lowers blood sugar levels by increasing the amount of free insulin available. Allyl propyl disulfide does this by competing with insulin, which is also a disulphide, to occupy the sites in the liver where insulin is inactivated. This result in an increase in the amount of insulin available to usher glucose into cells causing a lowering of blood sugar.

Cardiovascular Benefits: The regular consumption of onions has, like garlic, been shown to lower high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, both of which help prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. These beneficial effects are likely due to onions’ sulfur compounds, its chromium and its vitamin B6, which helps prevent heart disease by lowering high homocysteine levels, another significant risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

Support Gastrointestinal Health: The regular consumption of onions, as little as two or more times per week, is associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing colon cancer. Onions contain a number of flavonoids, the most studied of which, quercitin, has been shown to halt the growth of tumors in animals and to protect colon cells from the damaging effects of certain cancer-causing substances.

Cholera: Onion is an effective remedy for cholera. About 30 grams of onion and seven black peppers (kali mirch) should be finely pounded in a pestle and given to the patient of cholera. It allays thirst and restlessness and the patient feels better. It also lessens vomiting and diarrhea immediately.

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.

Good for Skin: Onion is irritating to the skin and stimulates the circulation of blood in the mucous membrane. Warts also sometimes disappear if rubbed with cut onions. Roasted or otherwise, onions are applied as a poultice to boils, bruises, wounds, etc., to bring the boils to maturity by its heaty sensation. Onion juice mixed with honey or olive oil is said to be best treatment for acne condition.

Boost Bone Health: Milk isn’t the only food that boosts bone health. Onions also help maintain healthy bones. Onions may be especially beneficial for women, who are at increased risk for osteoporosis as they go through menopause.

Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Bacterial Activity: Several anti-inflammatory agents in onions render them helpful in reducing the severity of symptoms associated with inflammatory conditions such as the pain and swelling of osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, the allergic inflammatory response of asthma, and the respiratory congestion associated with the common cold.

Tooth Disorders: Latest researches of Russian doctors have further confirmed the bactericidal properties of onion. According to these findings, if a person consumes one raw onion every day, chewing thoroughly, he will be protected from a host of tooth disorders.

Boost Sexual Drive: Onions are said to increase the urge for healthy sexual life. One table spoon of onion juice along with spoonful of ginger juice, taken thrice a day can boost the libido and sex drive.

Treating Urinary Disorders: For those suffering from burning sensation during urination, onions can provide considerable relief. The patient should drink water boiled with 6 to 7 gm of onion.

Prevents Blood Clot: Onions are considered as natural anti-clotting agents. The sulphur contents contained in the onions suppress clumping of platelets thereby preventing blood clots.

The more pungent an onion is, higher the concentration of healthy phytochemicals in it. There is no known side effect except for the bad smell! One can eat moderate amounts of onion everyday to be healthy.

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