Onions are one of the most widely consumed vegetables in the world, yet few people know how beneficial they can be to their health. In addition to enhancing the flavor of savory dishes, onions can actually help improve your health in several ways, from fighting disease to reducing inflammation and even boosting your immunity. Here are five surprising benefits of onions.
1) Fight Cancer
Studies have shown that a chemical compound in onions, quercetin, is effective at killing lung cancer cells. (1) They’re also rich in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients that can help reduce swelling and even provide relief for asthma sufferers. (2) Additionally, onions may benefit those dealing with diabetes by helping to lower blood sugar levels—in fact, researchers believe they may be more effective than some diabetic medications!(3) If you suffer from heartburn or acid reflux, it might be worth incorporating onions into your diet: an animal study found that onion extract significantly reduced symptoms of indigestion.(4) And finally, an animal study found that onions were able to kill off Helicobacter pylori—the bacteria responsible for most peptic ulcers.(5) Bottom line: The next time you reach for onion powder or flakes in your cooking, remember all of these benefits. And if you don’t cook often?
2) Treat Allergies
This pungent vegetable can help ease allergy symptoms, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Besides their immune-boosting abilities, onions are packed with vitamins and nutrients that keep you healthy. For example, onions are rich in vitamin C, which boosts your immunity against colds and infections. They also contain manganese and chromium, which help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. If you’re trying to lose weight, eating onions may also be beneficial: According to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition, people who ate a half cup of chopped onion before meals lost an average of six pounds over 12 weeks. That’s more than double what dieters typically lose on low-calorie diets! And best of all, there were no reported side effects like bloating or gas. Just make sure you cook them thoroughly—raw onions can cause digestive issues for some people.
3) Anti-Inflammatory Properties
According to a 2011 study published in Phytotherapy Research, allicin—the compound found in onion and garlic extracts—has anti-inflammatory properties. The findings suggest that consuming foods rich in allicin may help ease symptoms of both asthma and arthritis. Allicin is also known for its antibacterial qualities, which can protect against respiratory infections like colds and flu. In addition, research suggests that compounds found in onions may even slow down tumor growth rates among individuals with prostate cancer. Finally, onions are high in quercetin, an antioxidant flavonoid linked to better heart health. When eaten regularly, quercetin has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and prevent arterial damage caused by high blood pressure.
4) Improve Heart Health
Onions have been a staple of diets for centuries and it’s not hard to see why. A single onion contains just 42 calories, but provides more than 100 percent of your daily recommended dose of vitamin C and 16 percent of your daily dose of potassium. The sulfides in onions also help fight inflammation and pain in joints, which can make exercising a lot easier on both muscles and joints. In addition, onions are packed with antioxidants that can reduce oxidative stress, helping to prevent cell damage that can lead to chronic diseases like cancer. While you shouldn’t rely solely on onions for your health needs, they certainly deserve their place as one of nature’s true superfoods. Here are five surprising ways onions can improve your health:
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5) Help with Weight Loss
As you know, weight loss can be a tough battle. Onion contains chromium and fructo-oligosaccharides that will help to keep your insulin levels balanced. This keeps your blood sugar at an even level and can prevent you from cravings sugary snacks. Because of its high sulfur content, it works as a natural diuretic that keeps excess fluid at bay. This can help with weight loss! It is also rich in fiber which helps to regulate digestion. Fiber also helps in keeping cholesterol low. It also has anti-inflammatory properties which can relieve pain and swelling associated with arthritis or gout. It is also a good source of vitamin C, B6, B5, iron and calcium. The health benefits are endless!