A Short History Of Onions
Onions originated in Asia and have been cultivated in many countries for over 5,000 years.
The Egyptians associated them with eternity, and they were entombed alongside the Pharaohs.
The Romans believed the onion could improve vision, help sleep, heal mouth sores, dog bites, toothaches, and dysentery.
Greek athletes consumed them before their competitions.
One of the first cookbooks that was written around 2500 years ago contained a great many onion recipes.
The three main foods consumed in Europe during the Middle Ages were beans, cabbage, and onions.
Know Your Onions
There are many different varieties of onion, red, yellow, white, and green, and each has its own unique flavor, which varies from very strong to mildly sweet.
They can be eaten raw, cooked, fried, dried or roasted, and they are commonly used to flavor dips, salads, soups, spreads, stir-fries and other dishes.
It might come as somewhat surprising, but onions, garlic, leeks, chives, scallions and shallots all belong to the lily family.
But Just How Healthy Are Onions?
Dr. Manny discusses onions and their benefits!
The phytochemicals in onions improve the working of Vitamin C in the body, thereby aiding the body’s immunity system and it’s also a natural antihytamine.
And they contain chromium which helps regulate blood sugar.
They also contain a number of sulfides similar to those found in garlic which lower blood lipids and blood pressure.
Onions scavenge free radicals, thereby reducing your risk of developing gastric ulcers.
Raw ones encourage the production of good cholesterol (HDL), thus keeping your heart healthy.
A powerful compound called quercetin in onions is known to play a significant role in preventing cancer and quercetin is also an anti-inflammatory that is thought to be of benefit to those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
An onion extract was found to decrease allergy-induced bronchial constriction in asthma patients.
The World Health Organization (WHO) supports the use of onions for the treatment of poor appetite and to prevent atherosclerosis.
In addition, their extracts are recognized by WHO for providing relief in the treatment of coughs and colds, asthma and bronchitis.
Onions are known to decrease bronchial spasms and they are a rich source of flavonoids, substances which are known to provide protection against cardiovascular disease.
They are also natural anti-clotting agents since they possess substances with fibrinolytic activity that suppress platelet-clumping.
Take A Look At These Onion Stats
In central Georgia where Vidalia onions are grown, mortality rates from stomach cancer are about one-half the average level for the United States.
The Chinese who have the highest intake of onions, garlic, and other Allium vegetables have a risk of stomach cancer 40% less than those with the lowest intake.
Elderly Dutch men and women with the highest onion consumption, meaning at least one-half onion a day had one-half the level of stomach cancer compared with those consuming no onions at all.
But Take Care How You Peel Them
The flavonoids in onion are more concentrated in the outer layers of the flesh.
So to maximize your health benefits, peel off as little of the fleshy, edible portion as possible when removing the onion’s outermost paper layer.
Even a small amount of "overpeeling" will result in unwanted loss of flavonoids.
For example, a red onion can lose about 20% of its quercetin and almost 75% of its anthocyanins if it is "overpeeled"!!!
So Please Get To Know Your Onions!
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