Peel back an onion and what will you find? Layer upon layer of health benefits. Onions are an aromatic that is used as the base for many recipes and help foods reach their true flavor potential. But be careful while prepping onions: a lot of the nutrients are found in the outer layers and can be lost if the onion is over-peeled. Don’t be afraid of crying when you cut onion. With proper technique you can get a finely chopped onion with out shedding a single tear.
Here are the Top 10 from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic:
Top Health Benefits of Onions:
- Prevents Diabetes: A single serving of onions contains 27% of your biotin DRI. Biotin has many positive impacts on your health, one of which is combatting symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes. Early research suggests that a combination of biotin and chromium might help regulate blood sugar and even decrease insulin resistance.
- Healthy Skin: Biotin is also important in maintaining healthy skin. It is used to treat brittle nails, prevent hair loss (although research is still ongoing as to its effectiveness in this regard) and maintain skin health.
- Improved Immunity: Onions contain both vitamin C and phytochemicals that increase the effectiveness of vitamin C in your body. What does that mean? A healthier, more effective immune system, that’s what.
- Prevents Cancer: Quercetin is more than just a funny looking word. It’s also a plant flavonoid (another funny word that means plant pigment) that possesses potent antioxidants, which fight against cancer-causing free radicals. Free radicals are chemical compounds that damage cell membranes and cause cell death. Onions are rich in quercetin and thus are a powerful weapon in the war against cancer.
- Relieves Stress: Quercetin doesn’t stop there. It also helps protect your body against stress. When you are stressed out your body produces cortisol. While cortisol is totally normal, too much of it can damage muscle tissue and cause protein breakdown in the body. That’s where quercetin-rich onions come in. During times of prolonged stress, quercetin suppresses enzyme required for cortisol release. Next time you have a stressful deadline to meet at work, bring along a few raw onions to snack on!
- Lowers Cholesterol: Raw onion also promotes production of HDL which is the good cholesterol that you need to stay healthy.
- Anti-Inflammatory: Onions have anti-inflammatory properties help those who suffer from joint pain and arthritis. But the benefits of betalain is not limited to those with swollen joints; all disease is rooted in chronic inflammation, and, therefore, everyone should seek out foods with anti-inflammatory properties.
- Lowers Blood Pressure: The sulfur in onions acts as a natural blood thinner and it prevents blood platelets from collecting. This is good for lowering blood pressure and preventing risk of heart attack or stroke, because you are more susceptible if blood platelets clog up. And remember quercetin? Of course you do. Well it also helps prevent plaque buildup in arteries which is also good for preventing heart attack and stroke.
- Digestion: Onions are high in fiber, which is good for maintaining a healthy and regular digestive system. Fiber prevents digestive pain and breaks down food can keep it moving.
- Bone Density: Onions bolster bone density for older women. One study found that menopausal women who incorporated onions into their diet had a 20% lower risk of health disease.