Onions are no crying matter


It’s coming into winter time now and this year’s onion crop comes to market. Though the onion is unsubtle and mouth-burning, especially when served raw, when gently sweated down they can be incredibly sweet. Patience is required when cooking onions; undercooked onions that are still crunchy are horrible! Onions are versatile and can add flavour to many dishes.

Why are onions good for you?

They are a particularly rich source of sulphur (this is what gives them their pungent smell and eye-watering capacity), and antioxidant flavonoids, such as quercitin, which protects against cell damage. When preparing onions, it is important to try and peel off the paper skin only, as the highest concentration of these flavonoids is in the outer layers of the onion. The University of Maryland Medical Centre have conducted research which suggests that quercitin’s antihistamine effects may help ease the symptoms of asthma and allergies. It should be noted that this research has only be conducted in vitro and has not yet been tested on humans. (http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/quercetin)

Onions are also one of the richest sources of chromium, a metal which increases the action of insulin, and may therefore help to control blood sugar levels. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15208835) High blood sugar levels can ultimately lead to complications including heart disease.

Naturopaths have long used onions in the treatment of respiratory problems, some of which you may try at home:

  1. Onion soup
  2. Baked onions – put a whole onion in the oven and bake it until the skin cracks off, and then eat the insides.

Readily available, cheap and easy to cook, the humble onion should not be left at the back of the cupboard. Try and add them into your daily cooking and improve your health!

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