Healt Benefits of Onions (Pyaz)

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Onions are cultivated and consumed across the world. They are usually served cooked. They can also be eaten raw and are used in pickles and chutneys. The onion has a strong taste and a sharp, pungent flavor. Though it is a temperate crop, it can be grown under a wide range of climatic conditions (temperate, tropical, and subtropical).
The medical documents of Charaka Samhita (way back in the 6th century BC) mention onion as a medicinal plant. Even a Greek physician from the 1st century AD (Dioscorides) documented the vegetable’s medicinal uses. And it was the first European settlers who had taken onions to North America.
Whether it is raw onions or cooked onions, they are loaded with benefits. And you can eat them whenever you want – day or night. The vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins C and B6, folate, iron, and potassium. Onions are also rich in manganese that offers protection against cold and flu.
Allium and allyl disulphide, two phytochemicals in onions, are converted into allicin post ingestion. Allicin, as per certain studies, has properties to fight cancer and diabetes. It can also reduce the stiffness of blood vessels and lower blood pressure levels. Even the other onion types like chives, leeks, and shallots have similar benefits.
Onions also contain quercetin, another antioxidant that fights inflammation. More interestingly, cooking onions in soup doesn’t diminish their quercetin value but simply transfers the antioxidant from the vegetable to the soup broth.
And not just the vegetable, even the essential oil from onions has benefits. The oil has antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
Onions, when combined with garlic, could have greater benefits. The two, together, are known to be effective antidepressants, painkillers, anticoagulants, and anti-inflammatory.
And though onions may not induce weight loss directly, substituting them for high-calorie foods can make some contribution.
Whether raw or cooked – onions are super healthy. However, raw onions have higher levels of organic sulfur compounds that offer numerous benefits. One study has found that the outer layers of onion flesh have the highest concentrations of flavonoids – hence, ensure you remove as little of this part as possible while peeling the vegetable
Boiled onions also have benefits. They serve as a good source of fiber and copper. Fiber helps keep digestive issues at bay while copper aids brain communication. Even pickled onions have most of the benefits onions provide. One point to be noted about pickled onions is – most brands contain additives and could be harmful.
One small onion contains about 28 calories and 7 grams of carbs. Onions are also rich in vitamins A, B6, B-complex, and C, as well as iron, folate, and potassium. They are excellent sources of sulfuric compounds, flavonoids, phytochemicals, and polyphenols.
Health Benefits of Onions
Fight Cancer
As per a study conducted by the University of Guelph, red onions are the most effective in destroying breast and colon cancer cells . These onions have high levels of quercetin and anthocyanin – two compounds that contribute to this characteristic. Onions activate the pathways that provoke the cancer cells to kill themselves. They make the environment unfavorable for cancer cells to communicate, and this inhibits their growth.It was also found that people with the highest consumption of onions had the lowest cancer rates.
Improve Heart Health
The flavonoids in red onions can contribute to heart health. Onions are also rich in organosulfurs, which can help prevent heart disease. According to one Argentine study, intake of the organosulfur compounds found in onions can cut the risk of cardiovascular disease . Onions contain thiosulfinates that act as natural blood thinners and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The quercetin in onions also has the potential to fight heart disease. It offers both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that promote heart health. Onions can also improve cholesterol levels, and this ultimately benefits the heart. As per a report by the Cambridge University Press, the flavonoids in onions help lower the levels of LDL (the bad cholesterol) in obese people .
 Lower Blood Sugar Levels
One study has proven that onion extract can help lower blood sugar levels . The study was conducted on diabetic rats, and the results were encouraging. One of the sulfur compounds in onions (S-methylcysteine) and quercetin can have beneficial effects on blood sugar. However, it was found that onions exhibited the positive effect only when taken along with metformin, the antidiabetic drug.
The natural prebiotics in onions can also help ease constipation. They are also believed to help treat stomach ache and stomach worms, though more research is warranted.
Prevent Inflammation and Other Allergies
We have already seen quercetin (and other flavonoids) in onions can help prevent inflammation. Onions also treat allergies by preventing the cells from releasing histamine.
Cooking with onions can help open and drain your sinuses. And the antihistamine properties of quercetin can also aid in reducing nasal congestion .Even eating a raw onion at night can help relieve congestion – the sulfur-compounds in the onion can break down the mucous.
Improve Immune System
Onions contain selenium that stimulates immune function. The mineral also prevents excessive immune response, which can have adverse effects. Immune cells deficient in selenium develop and reproduce inefficiently, and here’s where onions come into the picture. Such cells also have difficulty in producing the important proteins and transporting calcium.
Even onion-honey syrup works wonders for common cold symptoms. The anti-inflammatory properties of onions can also help improve asthma.
Cure Ear Disorders

As per one report, though research is limited, most parents swear by onions to cure ear ailments. They insist that onion juice can work great to relieve earache. One way to do this is to heat up the onion, extract some of the juice, and pour a few drops into the infected ear. And this remedy, believe us, goes back to the 19th century.
 Promote Respiratory Health
According to an American study, patients with respiratory issues like asthma and allergic rhinitis can benefit from certain fruits and vegetables, onions being one of them .
The anti-inflammatory properties of onions can also help soothe respiratory ailments. If you are suffering from a respiratory illness, you can simply include onions in your diet (in addition to your medication) for quicker relief.
Improve Sleep
Onions contain prebiotics, which, as per a study, can improve sleep and even reduce stress. When the beneficial bacteria in the gut digest the prebiotic fiber, they multiply and improve gut health – and more importantly, release metabolic byproducts. These byproducts can influence brain function and induce sleep.
Enhance Eye Health
The sulfur in onions improves the health of the lens of the eye. It stimulates the production of a protein named glutathione, which acts as an antioxidant. Higher levels of glutathione mean a reduced risk of glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts.
The selenium in onions supports the vitamin E in the eye (which protects the cells in the eye).
Are Good for Oral Health
Onions contain thiosulfinates and thiosulfonates (the sulfur compounds) that help reduce bacteria that cause tooth decay. And eating raw is best – as cooking might destroy some of these beneficial compounds.
The vegetable is also rich in vitamin C that can keep the teeth healthy. It is also believed that onions can relieve tooth pain. However, there is less research on this.
Aid In Cholera Treatment
Onions were found to have an inhibitory effect against V. cholerae, the microbe responsible for cholera. This can be attributed to the antibacterial effects of the vegetable .
Prevent Blood Clots
Onions contain a compound called rutin, which can help prevent blood from clotting. In numerous mice studies, rutin was found to be the most potent anti-thrombotic compound . Clots occur in the arteries and veins – in arteries, the clots are platelet-rich while in veins they are fibrin-rich.
Enhance Brain Health
Research suggests that the antioxidants in onions bind with the harmful toxins in the brain and flush them out of the body. And the sulfur-containing compounds in onions can slow down age-related memory loss. The extracts of onions have been found to maintain the hippocampus. However, a part of these memory fighting properties might be lost upon cooking. Hence, try to eat the fruit raw.
Help Cure Fever
Onion can be included as a food ingredient to cure fever . It can also prevent or treat nose bleeding, given its natural fumes, which can help the blood clot (externally).
Ease Menopause Symptoms
Onions help during menopause as they support the liver and get rid of the waste hormones . Taking enough calcium is also imperative during this period. Onions contain calcium too and can help in this regard .
 Make Skin Glow
Onions are packed with vitamins A, C, and E – all of which contribute to skin health. They protect the skin from premature aging that is caused by free radicals. And since the vegetable is a powerful antiseptic, it can also shield the skin from bacteria that cause issues. And by the way, research says that vitamin C is important for imparting a glow to the skin.
Fight the Effects of Aging
Onions spossesses enormous anti-aging benefits. The antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E fight against the damage caused by the harmful UV rays as well as prevent free radical damage that is responsible for causing premature aging of our skin. Onion is one of the richest sources of quercetin, the most powerful antioxidant that can keep your skin wrinkle-free. Vitamins and sulfur, on the other hand, protect your skin and keep it soft and supple. The anti-aging qualities of onion can be attributed to the presence of sulfur-rich phytochemicals.
Source: Several Health Magazines