It can bring you to tears. Known for its pungent odor and its ability to make a grown man cry in the kitchen, the onion is most often utilized for its ability to season and flavor a variety dishes. But don’t discount this odiferous orb as a mere ingredient. Check out these five ways onions can boost your health.
A Blood Sugar Battler
Onions are one of the richest sources of chromium, a key trace mineral that is responsible for the body’s response to insulin. Recent research has found that onions can very well help reduce blood sugar levels in diabetic animals. Current research is limited to lab animals, but the effect is promising enough that researchers suggest onion extract may help diabetic patients manage blood sugar as much as medication.
A Heart Helper
Turns out onions may be good for your ticker. Onions, like garlic, are members of the allium family which contain high quantities of flavonoids and antioxidants. Onions are particularly high in the flavonoid quercetin, which has been shown to help prevent blood clots from forming.
Researchers have found that individuals who eat a diet high in quercetin-rich foods reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease. This heart-healthy flavonoid also helps lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood.
An Infection Fighter
An onion a day can keep the infection away. The sulfur compounds in onions have several anti-microbial properties. When combined with quercetin, onions become a powerhouse for keeping infections at bay including dangerous salmonella and E. coli.
And even though they won’t do much for your breath, a raw onion will help keep your teeth and gums clean. Their antibacterial properties have been shown to combat porphyromonas gingivalis and prevotella intermedia, two bacteria responsible for periodontal disease and tooth decay.
An Immunity Booster
Along with a potent punch of antioxidants and flavonoids, which have various anti-inflammatory properties, onions are one of the best sources for the trace mineral selenium. A recent study found that selenium plays an important role in both the initiation and regulation of immune response to infection.
When immune cells lack an adequate selenium supply they are less efficient at producing proteins and transporting calcium and are more easily oxidized, resulting in an overall weakened system.
A Cancer Kicker
Eating onions as few as one to two times per week can reduce your risk of developing certain cancers, specifically colorectal, laryngeal and ovarian cancers. This is thanks in part to the high concentration of quercetin, which in lower doses has been shown to eliminate the free-radicals responsible for tumor formation. In higher doses, quercetin has been linked to the prevention of stomach cancer, the second-leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide.
-The Atlernative Daily