To put it simply, onions are a staple in our diets. It seems like they manage to find their way into the recipe for many of our favorite dishes. This is by no means a new trend; it is known that onions have been part of the human diet for more than 7000 years, and were likely used to feed the builders of the Pyramids of Egypt!
Onions are widely used because of their ability to enhance the flavor of many recipes, but are you aware of the health benefits they provide? After all, they are a vegetable! Onions are a bountiful source of vitamins (specifically C, B6, B1, K, and H), folic acid, fiber, sulfur and flavonoids. They also contain important minerals like chromium, magnesium, phospherous, potassium and calcium. This wealth of substances has numerous health benefits for our bodies.
Let’s explore 8 health benefits of onions that may surprise you!
1. Onions can prevent blood clots
Quercitin, a flavinoid which is a major source of the many benefits of onions, is a natural blood thinner. It prevents platelets in the blood from forming clots. Onions also contain sulfur, which also prevents blood clotting.
2. Onions can lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol
Quercitin not only helps prevent blood clots, it can also regulate our cholesterol. It has been shown to reduce ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol while also helping our bodies produce ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. This antioxidant makes heart health one of the key benefits of onions.
3. Onions can prevent tumor growth
Onions are rich in antioxidants, which are known for their anti-tumor properties. Many of the antioxidants found in onions and other foods are capable of preventing cancerous tumor growth. Onions have been specifically linked to lower risks of colon, esophageal, prostate, and stomach cancer!
4. Onions can improve mood and sleep
Onions are rich in folic acid (also known as folate). This amazing component helps the brain receive blood and important nutrients. It can also help increase the production of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which helps to improve our mood, quality of sleep, and appetite.
5. Onions promote healthy hair and skin
Onions are a bountiful source of Vitamin C, which helps our bodies produce collagen. This is a crucial component for our bodies to maintain strong, healthy skin and hair.
6. Onions can remove toxins
Onions contain amino acids that can help our bodies remove toxic substances. These amino acids carry toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium, and arsenic out of the body to detox the liver. The buildup of these toxins in the liver is associated with a slew of diseases that can be prevented by adding detoxifying foods like onions to your diet.
7. Onions promote colon health
In addition to preventing colon cancer, onions can help promote overall colon health. Onions are rich in dietary fiber, which promotes good bacteria growth in the intestine. It is also well known that dietary fiber help prevent diarrhea. Perhaps most impressively, the fiber in onions can help prevent painful (and serious) gastric ulcers from forming in the intestines!
8. Onions help lower blood sugar
Good news for diabetics! Chromium, a mineral found in onions, helps our bodies regulate blood sugar. In addition, the sulfur found in onions helps lower blood sugar by promoting insulin production. This makes onions a very healthy choice for both diabetics and non-diabetics alike!