7 healthy reasons to eat more onions

In terms of health benefits too, onions are extremely good for you.

We Indians cannot really imagine life with onions, can we? Beyond its peculiar odour and unique flavour, onion is also highly nutritious, with each variety exhibiting potential health benefits. Here are a few of them.

1# Keeps your heart healthy: Onions are rich in sulphur compounds like thiosulphinates, thiosulphonates, mono-, di- and tri-sulphides that help lower blood cholesterol levels and triglycerides. The antioxidant compounds in them reduces oxidative stress on the cells, preventing oxidation of cholesterol and plaque formation. They also prevent platelet aggregation and thrombosis, both of which contribute to heart disease development [1]. Read about 8 natural cholesterol busters.

2# Helps control diabetes: Apart from the sulphur compounds, onions are rich in flavonoids like quercetin that exhibits hypoglycemic effects. A study published in the journal Environmental Health Insights showed that ingestion of onions reduced fasting blood glucose by 89 mg/dl in type 2 diabetic patients. The study suggests that consumption of onions lowers blood glucose levels in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients [2].

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3# Improves immunity: Vitamin C, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, is present in large quantities in onions that help improve immunity. Onions also boost production of interferons like TNF- and IL-12 production that increases phagocytosis. They also increase the activity of natural killer cells, enhancing natural immunity against infectious agents [3].

4# Lowers stress: Quercetin, a compound present in onions acts as a sedative which can help reduce pain, depression and anxiety. So, if you have had a hard day at work, try eating cut pieces of raw onion along with your food. Those suffering from insomnia will also benefit from eating it.

5# Helps protects against cancer: The potent antioxidant activity and high organosulphur content of onions has been linked to a reduced risk of several cancer like prostate cancer, kidney cancer, oral cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer. A study showed published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals significant reduction in cancer occurring at several sites with use of garlic and onion [4]. Read about the various foods that can keep cancer at bay.

6# Keeps your skin healthy: The antioxidants present in onions prevent your skin from getting wrinkles and fine lines which appear with age. Not only this, onions also help in the treatment of acne due to its anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities.

7# Boosts sperm health: Did you know eating onions could be a good way to boost sperm count and quality? Antioxidants in onions have an essential effect on sperm health. The study carried out by Khaki A and colleagues showed that rats administered with onion juice had significantly increased sperm concentration along with increased sperm count as well as increased number of viable and motile sperms [5].

Image source: Getty images

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  1. Griffiths G, Trueman L, Crowther T, Thomas B, Smith B. Onions--a global benefit to health. Phytother Res. 2002 Nov;16(7):603-15. Review. PubMed PMID: 12410539
  2. Taj Eldin IM, Ahmed EM, Elwahab H.M A. Preliminary Study of the Clinical Hypoglycemic Effects of Allium cepa (Red Onion) in Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetic Patients. Environmental Health Insights 2010;4:71-77. doi:10.4137/EHI.S5540
  3. Ueda H, Takeuchi A, Wako T. Activation of immune responses in mice by an oral administration of bunching onion (Allium fistulosum) mucus. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2013;77(9):1809-13. Epub 2013 Sep 7. PubMed PMID: 24018671.
  4. Galeone C, Pelucchi C, Levi F, Negri E, Franceschi S, Talamini R, Giacosa A,La Vecchia C. Onion and garlic use and human cancer. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Nov;84(5):1027-32. PubMed PMID: 17093154.
  5. Khaki A, Fathiazad F, Nouri M, Khaki AA, Khamenehi HJ, Hamadeh M. Evaluation of androgenic activity of allium cepa on spermatogenesis in the rat. Folia Morphol (Warsz). 2009 Feb;68(1):45-51. PubMed PMID: 19384830.

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