By Sola Ogundipe
Do you like onions? Most people do. The reason is so simple. Onions are among the healthiest foods you can eat. Rich in the most essential nutrients onions are so healthy it’s perfectly appropriate to remark that an onion a day may help keep the doctor away!
If you know your onions, you’ll know they are very high in the group of health beneficial compounds known as polyphenols, which play an important role in preventing and reducing the progression of diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.
What are polyphenols? They play an important role increasing the ratio of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which is important for health, weight management, and disease prevention.
Onions are an excellent source of heart-healthy, cancer-fighting quercetin and are surprisingly high in beneficial polyphenols, which play an important role in preventing and reducing the progression of diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.
As medicinal food, onions are more potent than garlic or leeks because they contain one of the best sources of a type of polyphenol called flavonoids, especially the flavonoid quercetin.
Onions are used for treating wide range of ailments including digestion problems and loss of appetite, upset stomach, and gallbladder disorders; for treating heart and blood vessel problems including chest pain (angina) and high blood pressure; and for preventing “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis). Onion is also used for treating sore mouth and throat, whooping cough, bronchitis, asthma, dehydration, intestinal gas, parasitic worms, and diabetes.
Some people use it as a diuretic to increase urine output. Onions might help reduce cholesterol levels, a risk factor for hardening of the arteries. There is some evidence that onions might also reduce lung tightness in people with asthma.
Health benefits of onions include their role in substantially possessing 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 onion provides great respite for patients with chronic asthma, allergic bronchitis, common cold-related cough and cold syndromes. Here are some of the most common health benefits:
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.
Used as insect repellent: 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, they 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.
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.
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.
Treatment for cough: Consuming an equal mixture of onion juice and honey can relive sore throats and coughing symptoms.
Boosts sexual drive: Onions are said to increase the urge for a healthy sex life. One tablespoon of onion juice along with one spoonful of ginger juice, taken three times a day, can boost the libido and sex drive.
Treatment of anaemia: Even anaemic 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, anaemia, also known as iron deficiency, can be prevented by having a health amount of onions in the 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.