Onions: The Oldest New Super Food

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Step 2 - Read: I always thought of myself as an onion...a being with many layers, peeling them back from time to time and discovering what lay just under the surface. Aside from my recent self discoveries which I will share at a later date, I discovered the wonders that lay under one of the oldest cultivated plants. The timeless onion.  

Onions and other varietals of the onion family (Allium genus) are perhaps one of my favorite vegetables to cook with. Leeks, garlic, shallot, scallion...they all contain the magical ability wear different hats. With the right technique you can coax almost any flavor or intensity out of these complex tubers. On top of their versatility and the fact Egyptians would bury them with dead Pharaohs, they are loaded with health benefits. Considering the average American eats 20 lbs of onions per year (Libyans eat 67 lbs per year), it may be nice to know a little bit more about the oldest new super food. To celebrate the onion I suggest you play this while you continue reading.  

The Healthy Onion 

What is so great about the onion? As it turns out all of these ‘anti’s’ are actually quite great! They are anti-allergic, anti-histaminic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and a great source of Vitamin C, B6, Iron, Folate and Potassium. However, their phytochemicals are keeping researchers up at night. Who knew that flavonoids and allyl disulphide could be so exciting.

Onions are:

  • Anti-cancer - Onions may lower your risk of cancer! Specifically, prostate, breast, ovarian, endometrial, colorectal, gastric, esophageal, laryngeal, and renal cell cancer.
  • Polyphenol powerhouses – Polyphenols are plant compounds that aid in disease prevention, antioxidant, and anti-aging.
  • Great for the heart -  aside from creating flavors that can win the heart of anyone, Dr. Mercola says that onions may be responsible for the ‘French paradox’  - for those unaware, this is the fact that despite French eating high calorie and often high fat diets they have low incidence of heart disease…it must be all that Mirepoix.
  • Other benefits - onions have antifungal and antibacterial properties and they can lower your levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, risk of cataract formation, and neurodegenerative disorders. They can also reduce symptoms associated with diabetes, food born illness, diminish the replication of HIV, and inflammation associated with asthma. 

Onions in the Kitchen:

Next time you are thinking about using onions in the kitchen take a look at this chart to help you decide which variety to use! 

Source: National Onion Association - All about onions

Source: National Onion Association - All about onions