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Onion (Allium cepa) Health Benefits

Onions make you cry, right? Not always the case, in-fact today they might make you smile. 

One of the most common ingredients in everyday cooking, onions are actually an awesome health food.

The main compounds found in onion are the flavonoids such as quercetin, which are natural phenolic compounds present in fruits and vegetables, exhibiting many pharmacological properties such as its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Along with flavanols, the major bioactive constituents in onions are sulfurous compounds. The sulfoxides, which are responsible for the onion flavor and odor, might also be responsible in part for the onion biological activity. (1)

 

Scientific Evidence

Asthma  

One study observed a reduction in the production of inflammatory cytokines, a relaxation of tracheal rings. It was concluded that onions have potential as antiasthmatic drugs, as they possess both immuno-modulatory and bronchodilatory properties. (1)

Cancer

Studies suggest the extract from onion may be useful against cancer. (2) 

Mechanistic studies indicate potential mechanisms of the anticancer activity of various Allium vegetable extracts and preparations and highlight the activities of the sulfur-containing compounds. These compounds have effects at each stage of carcinogenesis (cancer growth) and affect many physiological processes that modify cancer risk. (3)

Blood sugar and fats

Onion oil has been reported to effectively decrease the lipid levels in experimental animals. Study results indicate that onion decreased blood glucose, serum lipid levels, and reduced Kidney oxidative stress and this effect might exert the anti-diabetic effect of onion. Blood fat lowering effect of onion can be one of the mechanisms of anti-diabetic effects and contribute to the prevention of diabetic kidney damage. (4)

 

Conclusion

Although onions are commonplace, there is nothing common about their benefits.

High blood sugar and fats are underlying metabolic disease and chronic inflammation also precedes cancer, so it's little wonder onions have anti-cancer effects. The reduction of bronchial spasm and asthma is a nice bonus.

If you ever feel like you're crying again when chopping onions think of these benefits and smile.  

Raw onions give the best result as the sulfur compounds are still present.

I suggest trying to use 1 onion daily.  

Try these recipes:

 


References:

(1) Potential therapeutic effect of Allium cepa L. and quercetin in a murine model of Blomia tropicalis induced asthma. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4344790/ 

(2) Polyphenols Isolated from Allium cepa L. Induces Apoptosis by Induction of p53 and Suppression of Bcl-2 through Inhibiting PI3K/Akt Signaling Pathway in AGS Human Cancer Cells. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4189478/

(3) Garlic and onions: Their cancer prevention properties. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4366009/

(4) Alterations in the blood glucose, serum lipids and renal oxidative stress in diabetic rats by supplementation of onion (Allium cepa. Linn). PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2808725/

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