Onions are members of the Allium genus of flowering plants that also includes garlic, shallots, leeks and chives.
Also known as bulb onions or common onions, they are vegetables and the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium.
The onion plant has bluish-green leaves, and the bulb at the base begins to swell after a certain period.
These vegetables contain various vitamins, minerals and potent plant compounds that have been shown to promote health in many ways.
In fact, the medicinal properties of onions have been recognized since ancient times, when they were used to treat ailments like headaches, heart disease and mouth sores.
Here’s a quick look at the incredible onion benefits for health:
Onions’ sulfurs may be effective anti-inflammatory agents. Also quercetin extracted from onions seems to be a particularly powerful way to fight bacteria.
Onions also treat allergies by preventing the cells from releasing histamine.
Cooking with onions can help open and drain your sinuses. And the antihistamine properties of quercetin can also aid in reducing nasal congestion.
2. Improve Heart Health
Onions contain antioxidants and compounds that fight inflammation, decrease triglycerides and reduce cholesterol levels — all of which may lower heart disease risk.
Onions are also rich in organosulfur, which can help prevent heart disease.
Also onions consist of thiosulfinates that act as natural blood thinners and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The quercetin in onions may also help prevent plaque buildup in the arteries, which reduces the risk of heart diseases.
3. Contain Cancer-Fighting Compounds
Eating vegetables of the Allium genus like garlic and onions has been linked to a lower risk of certain cancers, including stomach and colorectal.
These onions have high levels of quercetin and anthocyanin – two compounds that contribute to this characteristic. Onions activate the pathways that provoke the cancer cells to kill themselves. They make the environment unfavorable for cancer cells to communicate, and this inhibits their growth.
These cancer-fighting properties has also been linked to the sulfur compounds and flavonoid antioxidants found in allium vegetables.
4. Immune system
Onions contain selenium that stimulates immune function. The mineral also prevents excessive immune response, which can have adverse effects.
The polyphenols in onions act as antioxidants, protecting the body against free radicals. Eliminating free radicals can help encourage a strong immune system.
5. Maintain Bone Health
Preliminary research suggests that onions can prevent age-related osteoporosis.
A 2009 study in the journal Menopause found that daily consumption of onions improves bone density in women who are going through or have finished menopause.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, quercetin in onions can inhibit the activity of leukotrienes, prostaglandins, and histamines (all of which cause inflammation) in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Onion intake was also found to help treat joint pains.
6. Regulating blood sugar
Eating onions may help control blood sugar, which is especially significant for people with diabetes or prediabetes.
The chromium in onions assists in regulating blood sugar. The sulfur in onions helps lower blood sugar by triggering increased insulin production.
Specific compounds found in onions, such as quercetin and sulfur compounds, also possess anti-diabetic effects.
7. Promote Healthy Digestion
Onions are a rich source of fiber and prebiotics, which are necessary for optimal gut health.
The fiber in onions promotes good digestion and helps keep you regular. Additionally, onions contain a special type of soluble fiber called oligofructose, which promotes good bacteria growth in your intestine.
8. Make Skin beautiful
Onion is rich in vitamin A, C & E. All of which are beneficial for your skin.
The antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E fight against the damage caused by the harmful UV rays as well as prevent free radical damage that is responsible for causing premature aging of our skin.
Vitamin C is important for imparting a glow to the skin.
Also the antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory qualities of onion can protect your skin from acne-causing bacteria and other skin infections.
9. Promote Hair Growth
Sulfur present in onion can stimulate collagen production – which, in turn, aids in the production of healthy skin cells, and, hair growth (by default, treating hair thinning too).