Onions are one of the oldest vegetables known to mankind. Just about every culture in the world use onions in a large number of recipes and preparations. You don’t usually eat onions on their own, I never have. Different varieties can taste sharp, spicy, tangy, pungent, mild and sweet.
Health Benefits of Onions
The health benefits of onions are wide ranging and claims have been made for the effectiveness of onions against conditions ranging from the common cold to heart disease.
The health benefits of onions come from chemical compounds believed to have anti-inflammatory, anticholesterol, anticancer, and antioxidant properties. The compound found in onions is quercetin. It’s called a flavonoid, and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
So far science has not conclusively demonstrated that increased consumption of onions is directly linked to health benefits. Some studies, however, have shown that increased consumption of onions reduces the risk of head and neck cancers.
Another health benefit of onions may be especially beneficial for women. It’s found that onions can destroy osteoclasts that break down bone during menopause. It’s also interesting to note that onions contain about 23 mg of Calcium.
A member of the onion family, shallots have the most phenols, up to six times the amount found in onions. Shallots also have the most antioxidant activity.When tested against liver and colon cancer cells, shallots were most effective in inhibiting their growth.
Onions and shallots are a real power food that should be consumed almost daily. I love onions, especially the brown ones and I do eat them nearly every day. I always cook mine although I sometimes throw them raw into a salad. I guess eating them raw is the best way to get the full health benefits of onions but I doubt that cooking makes much of a difference.