Some of the health benefits of onions include their role in substantially relieving a number of diseases including the common cold, asthma, bacterial infections, respiratory problems, angina, and cough. Onions are also known to repel bloodthirsty insects. In other words, you may say that onions are a true gift from nature, even if they do make you cry.
Introduction to Onions
Onions have been known to possess curative value since ancient times. Even the World Health Organization confirms that onions are beneficial for people with a reduced appetite and those suffering from atherosclerosis. Health experts acknowledge the fact that onions provide a great respite for patients with chronic asthma, allergic bronchitis, common cold-related cough and cold syndromes.
Onions, which have the scientific classification of Allium cepa, also contain a number of antioxidant compounds that are very effective in neutralizing the free radicals present in the human body. Onions have been used for millennia by human beings for medicinal purposes. Onions have been one of the staple plants in the diet of humans for more than 7,000 years, and during much of that time, onions were actually cultivated. There are still wild species in certain areas of Asia, but for the most part, onions are a globally grown and cultivated plant. Throughout history, onions were even worshiped by certain cultures, like the Egyptians, who buried them with their pharaoh. This fascination with onions could have stemmed from its versatility and availability, or from the medicinal and beneficial properties they have already discovered from this powerful little bulb plant.
The antibacterial properties of onion include extensive antifungal applications, which have made it a household name in antifungal relief. The onion plant can be grown on well-drained and moist soil. You can even grow them in your own backyard or garden to reap its health benefits. They form an important part of many culinary preparations in cuisines around the world, and they are also known as ‘companion plants’, meaning they grow well when around other vegetables and plants.
Nutritional Facts of Onions
Onions have so many valuable medicinal applications because of the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds contained in them, including the presence of sulfuric compounds and quercetin in traces of the essential oils. Onions also contain mineral components such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, selenium and phosphorus, and they are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and dietary fiber!
Health Benefits of Onions
Some of the most valuable and well known health benefits of onions are as follows:
Good Oral Health: Onions are often used to prevent tooth decay and oral infections. Chewing raw onions for 2 to 3 minutes can potentially kill all the germs present in the oral area and surrounding places like the throat and lips.
Immune System Strength: The phytochemicals that are present in significant amounts in onions act as a stimulant to vitamin C within the body. The efficacy of vitamin C, and subsequently your immune system, is boosted when you eat onions, since it supercharges your immune system against toxins and various foreign bodies that can lead to disease and illness.
Treatment for Heart Ailments: Onions act as anticoagulants, also known as blood thinners, which in turn prevents the red blood cells from forming clumps. These blocks and clots can lead to heart disorders or cardiovascular diseases.
Manage Diabetes: Onions contain chromium, which is a relatively unusual mineral to find naturally in food. Chromium helps the body manage blood sugar levels and ensure a slow, gradual release of glucose to the muscles and the body cells. Therefore, eating onions can help modulate your blood sugar levels, which is vitally important for diabetic patients.
Glowing Skin: Onion juice mixed with honey or olive oil is said to be best treatment for treating symptoms or signs of acne. Onions are also notorious anti-inflammatory vegetables, so the active compounds in onions can reduce the redness and swelling that is commonly associated with skin conditions like acne. It also helps to reduce the associated pain and inflammation of conditions like gout and arthritis.
Treatment for Cough: Consuming an equal mixture of onion juice and honey can relive sore throats and coughing symptoms.
Used as Insect Repellent: You can apply onion juice to reduce the pain caused from honeybee stings. Fresh onion juice or paste can be used for external applications for other insect bites and scorpion stings as well. The smell of onions also causes insects to flee, which is why onions can be used as insect repellents as well as a form of sting treatment.
Prevention of Cancer: Onions are rich in active compounds that successfully inhibit the development and spread of cancerous cells. Quercetin is a very powerful antioxidant compound that has been consistently linked to the prevention or reduction of the spread of cancer, Onions have a significant amount of quercetin! Vitamin C is also a strong antioxidant, which can reduce the presence and impact of free radicals throughout the body. Free radicals are the chemical byproducts of cellular metabolism, and they can cause healthy cells to mutate into cancerous cells. Therefore, any food rich in antioxidants, which neutralize these free radicals, are beneficial for anyone, since every person is susceptible to this internal attack due to oxidative stress!
Relieving Earache: A few drops of onion juice may actually prove immensely beneficial to individuals suffering from acute earache. The ringing sound in the ear may be cured by applying onion juice through a piece of cotton wool.
Boosts Sexual Drive: Onions are said to increase the urge for a healthy sex life. One table spoon of onion juice along with one spoonful of ginger juice, taken three times a day, can boost the libido and sex drive.
Treatment of Anemia: Even anemic conditions can be improved by eating onions along with jaggery and water, because this adds to the mineral content of the body, especially iron, which is an essential part of producing new red blood cells. Therefore, anemia, also known as iron deficiency, can be prevented by having a health amount of onions in your diet.
Relieves Stomach Aches: Onions have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that give relief to upset stomach and other related gastric syndromes. This is due to the saponins that can be found in onions. These saponins have anti-spasmodic capabilities that ensure that stomach disturbances do not continue and that your bowels are clear and smoothly functioning.
Treating Urinary Disorders: For those suffering from a burning sensation during urination, onions can provide considerable relief. People suffering from this condition should drink water boiled with 6 to 7 grams of onions.
According to Peace Health, onions have long been useful for treating various human diseases such as tumors, persistent coughs and colds. Medical practitioners consider this plant form as a perfect home remedy for relieving various metabolic disorders and disease syndromes. Peace Health further states that onion consumption can even help in the prevention of stomach and breast cancer.
Onions Consist of Sulfur Rich Compounds- Medical studies have revealed that these sulfuric compounds stop biochemical chain formations that could possibly lead to asthmatic conditions. The sulfuric content of onions facilitates the melting of phlegm in a patient suffering from severe coughing. Fresh onion juices are recommended for patients who lose consciousness, because the aroma and inhalant qualities of onions bring immediate vigor and energy into people.
In terms of onions’ role in various culinary delights, onions has been used for thousands of years in many food preparations. It is especially used for preparing non-vegetarian food in order to hide some of the harsher tastes and smells of meat. Onions can be consumed raw, pickled in vinegar, fried in oil, baked or boiled. Onions are certainly a boon to mankind that might make us cry, but they should be tears of joy, considering all the health benefits we are getting at the same time!
References: Peace Health, National Horicultural Research and Development Foundation at Nashik and World Health Organization.