As I mentioned in my last post – sweet onions fresh from the garden are delicious treats of the season. The sweetness in sweet onions is short lived.
But there are other reasons to eat onions besides the fact that they’re delicious.
Powerful Antioxidants (Flavonoids)
Onions contain powerful antioxidants (called flavonoids) for fighting infections, disease and aging.
Concentrated in Outer Layers
To make sure you get the greatest benefit from your onions, it’s important to know that these antioxidants are concentrated in the outer layers of the onion. Even a little bit of “overpeeling” can result in a big loss of these powerful flavonoids (antioxidants).
The Hallmark Flavonoid – Quercetin
The hallmark flavonoid (antioxidant) of the onion is quercetin. It’s easily killed with high heat. But if you you simmer your onions using low heat when making say – onion soup — the quercetin will not degrade, but rather be transferred to the water.
White onions contain little quercetin. (A real disappointment for me, since they are my favorites.) The greatest health benefits come from yellow and red onions.
Our ancestors knew – Modern Research backs them up
Onions have been used as far back as 4000 B C as a cure for various diseases. Modern research backs this up.
They’re rich in Vitamin C, A and B and a great source of phosphorus, magnesium, chromium, iron, folic acid, calcium and dietary fiber.
Most Beneficial when Raw
And “raw” onions are your best bet for health benefits.
Including about 1/2 raw onion in your diet each day can — on a long term basis —
- decrease bad cholesterol in the blood and increase the good cholesterol.
- increase the blood’s ability to dissolve clots and prevent them from forming (anti-coagulant)
- be beneficial in the treatment of anemia (because of the high iron content)
- act as an anti-inflammatory agent to help arthritis and gout
- act as an anti-septic to fight urinary tract infections like cystitis; (externally you can apply a bit of onion juice to insect bites as an anti-septic)
- stimulate the growth of good bacteria in the colon – and thus reduce risk of tumors
- counter fluid retention
- increase blood circulation
- help prevent the bones from breaking down as they do in osteoporosis
even cooked onion can help to lower blood pressure naturally.
Eating onions raw in salads — especially when harvested fresh from the garden is pretty easy to do. Savor them in your salad, remembering that chewing raw onions for 2 to 3 minutes could kill most of the germs in your mouth helping to prevent tooth decay!
If you love sweet onions right from the garden like we do, now you have even more reasons to enjoy them. If you only eat them cooked, I hope you’ll reconsider and partake of this seasonal treat that has great health benefits — especially when enjoyed raw!
Other Posts on Onions:
Organic Gardening is easy, efficient and effective — and it’s a lot healthier.
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