Onions – Why to add them in our salads ?

Onions – Why to add them in our salads ?

Onions, like garlic are members of the Allium family and both are rich in powerful sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for their pungent odors and for many of their health-promoting effects. Onions contain allyl propyl disulphide. Onions are very rich in chromium, a trace mineral that helps cells respond to insulin and numerous flavonoids, most notably  quercitin.

Blood Sugar-Lowering Effects

The higher the intake of onion, the lower the level of glucose found during oral or intravenous glucose tolerance tests. Experimental and clinical evidence suggests that allyl propyl disulfide is responsible for this effect and lowers blood sugar levels by increasing the amount of free insulin available. Allyl propyl disulfide does this by competing with insulin, which is also a disulphide, to occupy the sites in the liver where insulin is inactivated. This results is an increase in the amount of insulin available to usher glucose into cells causing a lowering of blood sugar.

Onions are a very good source of chromium, the mineral component in glucose tolerance factor, a molecule that helps cells respond appropriately to insulin. Clinical studies of diabetics have shown that chromium can decrease fasting blood glucose levels, improve glucose tolerance, lower insulin levels, and decrease total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while increasing good HDL-cholesterol levels.
Marginal chromium deficiency is common since chromium levels are depleted by the consumption of refined sugars and white flour products as well as the lack of exercise. One cup of raw onion contains over 20% of the Daily Value for this important trace mineral.

Cardiovascular Benefits

The regular consumption of onions has, like garlic, been shown to lower high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, both of which help prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. These beneficial effects are likely due to onions’ sulfur compounds, its chromium and its vitamin B6, which helps prevent heart disease by lowering high homocysteine levels, another significant risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

Much like garlic, onions help to increase the HDL cholesterol in the blood, especially when they are eaten in their raw state. Onions also help to decrease the bad cholesterol or LDL in the blood and they increase the ability of the blood to dissolve blood clots. Onions are excellent at decreasing the risk inherent in developing diabetes and help to fight off the bacteria that are responsible for causing many infections in the human body.

Flavonoids in onions help vitamin C in its function, improving the integrity of blood vessels and decreasing inflammation. All this spells help for your cardiovascular system.

Support Gastrointestinal Health

The regular consumption of onions, as little as two or more times per week, is associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing colon cancer. Onions contain a number of flavonoids, the most studied of which quercitin, has been shown to halt the growth of tumors in animals and to protect colon cells from the damaging effects of certain cancer-causing substances.

Cooking meats with onions may help reduce the amount of carcinogens produced when meat is cooked using high heat methods.

Quercitin, an antioxidant in onions reduce both the size and number of precancerous lesions in the human intestinal tract and help keep colon cancer at bay.

Onions decrease the risk of many different types of cancers. A compound known as quercetin has been discovered in onions and this compound is extremely powerful when it comes to fighting cancer and is an excellent antioxidant.

Boost Bone Health

Milk isn’t the only food that boosts bone health. Onions also help maintain healthy bones. Onions may be especially beneficial for women, who are at increased risk for osteoporosis as they go through menopause.

Onions are rich in chemical compounds which exhibit antibacterial and antifungal properties and have been used to treat coughs, bacterial infections, and breathing problems across different cultures for many centuries.

Onions are rich in fructo-oligosaccharides, sulphides, Vitamin A and C, calcium, flavonoids, phosphorus and potassium which contributes to its many health beneficial properties such as:
– Asthma
– Bronchitis
– Cardiovascular disease
– Colds
– High Blood Pressure
– Influenza
– Insomnia
– Lowers cholesterol
– Pneumonia
– Reduce inflammation
– Sinus conditions
– Tuberculosis

Hence include onions in your daily diet and see the difference in your health.

Sanjana M Shenoy is a A dietitian from Mangalore, Karnataka, India. Having worked as a Dietitian for the Manipal Group of Hospitals namely KMC hospital Mangalore, India.She is also a consultant for corporate's like Infosys and others, conducting talks and presentations for various associations and local television shows.She consults at her Diet and Nutrition clinic "Nutrihealth" in Mangalore.Also is a visiting consultant to various hospitals in and around Mangalore and also runs an active online consultation.

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