Onions are vegetables that grow as underground bulbs at the base of plants known scientifically as Allium cepa. Also known as bulb onions or common onions, they are grown worldwide, and are closely related to chives, garlic, scallions, shallots and leeks.
Onions may have several health benefits, mostly due to their high content of antioxidants and sulfur-containing compounds.
Onions are commonly used as a flavoring or side dish, and are a staple food in Indian cooking.
There are countless ways to enjoy onions. They can be baked, boiled, grilled, fried, roasted, sauteed, powdered or eaten raw in salads.
Raw onions are very low in calories, with only 40 calories per 100 grams (3.5 oz).
By fresh weight, they are 89% water, 9% carbs and 1.7% fiber, with tiny amounts of and fat.
A 100 gram (3.5 oz) portion of onions contains 9.3 grams of carbs, and 1.7 grams of fiber, so the total digestible carbohydrate content is 7.6 grams.
Health Benefits of Onions
Cancer is a common disease, characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells in the body. It is one of the world’s leading causes of death.
Observational studies have linked increased consumption of onions to reduced risk of several types of cancers, such as stomach, breast, colon and prostate cancers.
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 intestines.
Good for Bone Health
A very large observational study in women over 50 years of age found that regular onion consumption is linked with increased bone density.
A new controlled trial also showed that intake of selected fruit, herbs and vegetables, including onions, may reduce bone loss in post menopausal women.
Raw onions may make our breath stink, but they can actually improve our oral health. Simply chewing a raw onion can strengthen teeth and eliminate bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.
Helps to Blood Sugar Regulation
This has also been shown in humans. One study in diabetics found that 100 grams of raw onions per day led to a significant reduction in blood sugar levels
Raw onions may be beneficial in the management of both type 1 and 2 diabetes, but more research is needed.
Onions are also good in B-complex group of vitamins like pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, folates and thiamin. Pyridoxine or vitamin B-6 helps keep up GABA levels in the brain, which works against neurotic conditions.
A Few Quick Serving Ideas
Combine chopped onions, tomatoes, avocado, and jalapeno for an all-in-one guacamole salsa dip.
Healthy Sauteed chopped onions can enhance the flavor or almost any vegetable dish.
To perk up plain rice, top with green onions (scallions) and sesame seeds.
Enjoy a classic Italian salad, sliced onions, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese drizzled with olive oil.
For individuals who tolerate and enjoy onions, they can be a valuable component of a healthy diet.