What would cooking in the kitchen be like without the inviting aroma of onions?
Onions, like, garlic are members of the alliums family, and both are rich in powerful sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for their strong aroma and their health-promoting qualities.
It is a plant that cannot easily be placed either as spices or vegetable.
Onions are rich in chromium, a trace mineral that helps cells respond to insulin, plus vitamin c, and numerous flavonoids notably, quercitin.
Onions are very good sources of manganese, molybdenum, vitamin B and C, folate, potassium, phosphorus and copper.
There are two types of onions – spring and storage onions.
The spring onion has sweet taste, while storage is dry with crisp skin. It also has more flavuor.
Onions also comes in different sizes, colours, tastes and shapes.
Onions generally have distinctive characteristics – they may bring tears to the eyes, but they will most certainly bring delight to your taste buds. This is caused by the breaking of onion cells while slicing.
Onion cells have two sections – one with enzymes called aliases, the other with sulfides. The gas diffuses through the air and eventually reaches the eyes where it reacts with the water to form a diluted solution of sulfuric acid.
The eye irritation can be avoided by cutting onions under running water or submerged in a basin of water. Rinsing the onions and leaving it wet while chopping may also be effective.
Onions can be used chopped or sliced in almost all type of food including cooked foods and fresh salads.
Onions can be stored at room temperature, away from bright light and in a place where that is well ventilated.
They can be stored in a basket or a perforated bowl with a raised base, so that air can circulate underneath.
Health Benefits of Onions
- Blood sugar-lowering effect – the higher the intake of onion, the lower the level of glucose found during oral or intravenous glucose tolerance tests.
- The regular consumption of onions lowers the high cholesterol levels and high blood sugar pressure which help to prevent diabetic heart disease and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.
- Onion is also beneficial for women who are at increased risk of osteoporosis as they go through menopause
- Milk is not the only food that boosts bone health, onions also help maintain healthy bones
- Consumption of onions as little as two or more times per week is associated with significantly reduced risk of developing colon cancer
- Making onions major ingredient of your daily meal may greatly lower your risk of several common cancer
- Several anti-inflammatory agents in onions render them helpful in reducing the severity of symptoms associated with inflammatory conditions such as the pains and swelling of osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, the allergic inflammatory response of asthma and the respiratory congestion associated with the common cold.
- The unpleasant sensation in the eyes when onion is cut increases tearing. Tear is filled with several antimicrobial agents which keep the eye health and prevent them from drying.
Eat onions today – no overdose, no side effects, great taste and plenty benefits.
- Thompson, Sylvia (1995). “The Kitchen Garden”. Bantam Books. p. 143.
- Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1968). Home Preservation of Fruit and Vegetables. HMSO. p. 107.
- “Onion and Onion Product”. NIIR Project Consultancy Services.