The onion is an irreplaceable food item in South-Eastern Europe, as well as in other parts of the world and in various cousines.
People love it in many ways. Even though it makes some people cry while mincing it and leaves a strong smell after eating, most dishes would have an “empty” taste without it.
Apart from gastronomy, it is a popular feature in natural medicine, and its healing properties are famous around the world.
The fact is that the onion’s qualities are varied and strong, warranting it a place among the healthiest foods in the world.
Onion – an irreplaceable food on your table
There are many onion species, but the most widely cultivated in this region is common onion, bulb onion or simply – onion.
Scientifically called Allium cepa, it is one of the oldest vegetable crops, and is famous for its distinct hot taste and strong aroma.
All the species of the Allium genus have medicinal properties so you cannot go wrong with any one of them.
It is believed it originated in Asia. It was one of few foods that didn’t go bad during winter, which quickly gave it a prominent place in human diet.
As it spread to other continents, it became irreplaceable in various cultures and famous in medical circles, where it was used for treating numerous illnesses.
The Egyptians venerated it, considering its spherical shape and concentric circles represent eternity.
The Greeks ate it frequently since they believed it cleansed blood of toxines. This has been confirmed by recent research along with its other healing properties.
The raw onion contains 40 calories per 100 grams. It is 89% water, 9% carbohydrates, 1,7% fibre, and proteins and fat in minimal quantities.
The most significant fibres in onions are fructanes, which support a healthy intestinal flora.
The onion is a good source of:
- dietary fibre
- vitamin C – important for immunity and beautiful skin
- vitamin B6 – important for making red blood cells
- folic acid – essential in cell formation
- potassium – beneficial for blood pressure and heart health
- manganese – for healthy tissues and bones
Healing properties of onion
Most medicinal properties of onions are attributed to its antioxidants and sulphur compounds.
Many healing compounds in the onion act in sinergy and help balance the health of the organism.
The healing properties of the onion include the following:
- prevents inflammatory processes
- protects cardiovascular health
- reduces the risk of degenerative diseases
- improves digestion
- curbs the spread of viruses
- detoxicates blood
- protects from diabetes
- improves mood
- acts antibacterially and antifungally
- promotes the absorption of nutrients from the food
- protects from cancer
5 most significant healing properties
1. Protects the vascular health
The onion is an excellent agent for the protection from thrombus as it abounds in anticoagulant compounds.
Heart patients are recommended to eat onions every day because their ingredients prevent the build up of platelets and speed up the process of their breaking down.
Eating onions with fatty food helps block harmful effects of fats, inluding the formation of thrombus.
The raw onion is the best remedy for raising the “good” HDL cholesterol. It takes just a half of raw onion per day, since it does not affect cholesterol if thermically processed.
The research shows HDL cholesterol went up by 30%, and the therapy was successful in 70% volunteers.
The sulphur compounds from the onion also help lower elevated triglycerides and relax blood vessels.
The onion cuts the risk of high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease and heart attack.
2. Regulates sugar and protects from diabetes
Medicine recognized long ago the effectiveness of onions in blood glucose regulation. The effect is noticed even with small quantities, when the onion is used as an addition to the main course.
Research have confirmed that frequent onion consumption can be associated to lower blood glucose levels, whether the onion is cooked or raw.
Its active principle has been attributed to compounds allyl-propyl-disulfide and allicin, which stimulate insulin secretion.
The onion contains manganese and chromium – two elements indispensable for proper insulin secretion and action.
3. Significantly helps with cancer
More than 30 anticarcenogenic compounds have been discovered in onion, such as sulfide, quercetine and ajoens. It is believed they slow down tumour growth and protect from free radicals.
It is especially recommended in case of esophagus, stomach, intestinal and prostate cancer since it has been shown that a frequent onion consumption is associated with a lower rate of these cancer types.
4. Brings peaceful sleep and good mood
The folic acid found in onions may help against depression as it prevents the formation of homocystein in the body, which could prevent the supply of nutrients to the brain.
Excess homocystein obstructs the production of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which regulate sleep and appetite as well as mood.
5. Strengthens bones, hair and nails
Osteoporosis is frequent in postmenopausal women, but a healthy diet can prevent it.
An extensive study on women over 50 found that regularly eating onion was correlated to a greater bone density.
The research also showed that menopausal women who ate onion daily had a lower risk of hip fracture.
A high sulphur concentration can benefit the connective tissue since sulphur is necessary for the formation of that tissue.
A regular application of onion juice on the scalp will speed up hair growth, while daily rubbing of onion juice into nails will strengthen weak and fragile nails.
The onion extract is particularly effective in diminishing scars. Cremes based on its extract are recommended after surgeries of hypertrophic and cheloid scars.