People Benefit from Eating Onions
Onions are vegetables that are cultivated and used around the world. They are usually served cooked, as part of a dish, but can also be eaten raw. They are pungent and can irritate the eyes while they are being chopped. Onions contain about 90% water, 4% sugar, 2% fiber, 1% protein, and 0.1% fat. They are high in vitamins C and B6, folic acid and dietary fiber. They are very low in calories, sodium and fat, and can contribute their flavor to various dishes without raising the energy content. Onions are believed to benefit health because of their phenolic and flavonoid content, which have potential antioxidant, anti-cholesterol, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties.
The pungent odor of onions comes from sulfur-containing compounds called allyl sulfides. It is believed that the combination of these sulfur-containing compounds and quercetin may boost cardiovascular health by protecting blood vessels from damage caused by cholesterol.
A study found that women who ate onions daily had greater bone density compared to those who did not eat them. Among older women, the risk of hip fractures was found to be 20% in onion eaters. Again, researchers attributed these beneficial effects to the combination of sulfurous compounds and quercetin, as well as other antioxidants in onions.
Other studies show that the antioxidant quercetin may help protect against cancer by preventing DNA damage and by blocking the effects of cancer-causing agents. People who frequently consume onions have been found to have a lower risk for certain types of cancer and heart disease compared to people who do not eat them.
Onions also aid in digestion because they contain fructo-oligosaccharides, a special type of carbohydrate, which serve as food for intestinal bacteria. These carbohydrates also promote a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, thus improving digestive function and relieving constipation.
Applegate, L. The Health Benefits of Onions. MSN.