Onions are some of the most consumed vegetables among not only Indians but also throughout the world. People love to eat onions or add onions to any of their dishes- it may be a salad or a curry, to add a magical taste to the meal. But do you know, that apart from the immense taste and flavors that onions bring, they also possess some essential nutritional elements that are extremely beneficial for our overall health and the healthy functioning of the body? Onions are powerhouses of antioxidants, plant-based sulfur products, and key minerals like copper, potassium, manganese, and so on.
Onions, that take the shape of a bulb, like many other similar species such as garlic, leeks, chives, and so on, belong to the same family of plant-based foods that are known as ‘Allium’ in biological terms. Though these types of plant products contain a weird smell, they are filled with essential nutrients and extensive medicinal properties that can help to heal any physical ailment, such as cancer, or diabetes, and helps in other physiological and mental functioning such as enhancing mood, taking care of bone joints, and maintaining bone density, particularly among aged individuals, keeping hair and skin healthy, and so on. Onions are of different shapes, sizes, colors, and textures, and this variation occurs based on the type of plants they are taken from. For example, some onions are red, while some vary between the colors purple to slightly pink. On the other hand, some are completely white or yellow. Some onion bulbs are big, while the others are quite small, known as ‘shallots.’ Onions are quite easy to add to your regular diet. They can be fried, roasted, salted, and can be used in any dish that you have for lunch or dinner.
Health Nutrients Present In Onions:
Onions are filled with healthy nutrients and essential minerals that help to keep our bodies fit and boost the immune system of our body. Moreover, onions will never let you gain excessive weight because onions are quite low in calories. If you consume around 3.5 ounces or 100 grams of raw onions, you are likely to get only 40 calories, because onions are composed of 89% of water, 9% of carbohydrates, and 1.7% of fiber with little portions of protein and fat.
The nutrients that are present in 100 grams of onions are given here as follows in proper amounts:
- Calories: 32 to 40
- Carbohydrates: 7 to 9.3 grams
- Sugar: 4.2 grams
- Water: 89%
- Protein: 1.1 gram
- Fat: 0.1 gram
- Fiber: 1.7 grams
- Fat: 0.1 gram
Apart from these, onions are also important sources of vitamins, particularly vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B9 or folate (folic acid), antioxidants such as flavonoids and quercetin, anthocyanins and thiosulfinates, and minerals like copper, potassium, manganese, and so on.
|Percentage of the daily requirement in adults
|Vitamin C (RDA)
|13.11% for males and 15.73% for females
|Vitamin B-6 (RDA)
|11.29–14.77%, depending on age
|Manganese (AI (Aromatase Inhibitors))
|8.96% for males and 11.44% for females
Health Benefits Of Onions:
1. Powerhouse of Essential Nutrients:
As it is obvious from the above chart that onions are filled with essential nutrients and substances that are extremely important for the healthy functioning of our health, such as anti-inflammatory substances and crucial antioxidants that are very much helpful in preventing the occurrence of any chronic or inflammatory diseases in the body. Besides, they are good sources of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Onions are significantly less in calorie content and contain 44 calories which are significantly less in amount. The vitamin C present in onion juice is important to boost your immune response and helps in the synthesis of collagen, repair of cells and body tissues, and regulates proper absorption of iron components from food to maintain proper production of the red pigments called hemoglobin in your blood. This vitamin also helps to lower the risk of developing any type of oxidative or cellular damage caused by disease-forming free radicals. Other important nutrients present in onions, such as folic acid, vitamin B6, and minerals like potassium and copper help to improve the immune system in your body and maintains proper functioning of fluid balance, nerve transmissions, and keep your major organs like lungs, kidneys, and other body parts like bones and muscles in good health.
2. Prevents chances of diabetes:
Diabetes is one of the most commonly- occurred diseases in today’s world that can become excessively severe if neglected. The essential antioxidants, along with vitamins and minerals present in onion juice are beneficial to lowering the amount of blood sugar levels in your body. This can thus help to treat and prevent blood sugar-related disorders like type 2 diabetes or diabetes mellitus. Those who consume around 3.5 ounces or 100 grams of raw onions per day can significantly lower their blood sugar levels (1).
3. Keeps your bones and muscles healthy:
Bone and muscle health is important to maintain, particularly in old age to prevent the occurrence of diseases like osteoporosis, particularly among aged women (this disorder in bones and muscles causes erosion of bone calcium in women after they have their menopause). The huge amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are present in onions help to keep your bones and muscles healthy.
4. Lowers the risk of cancer:
Apart from heart diseases and cancer, another most important disease that is quite commonly occurring today is cancer. This disease can prove to be severe and destructive and can often lead to death if left untreated. Surprisingly, onions consist of health-beneficial components that are anti-carcinogenic. These components prevent the oxidative functions within cells and thus check abnormal cell division within the body that might lead to cancer. The dietary antioxidants along with vitamins and minerals that are present in onion extracts have the power to reduce the chance of having major forms of cancer such as oral cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, liver cancer, colon cancer, and so on.
5. Keeps your heart healthy:
The health extracts present in the juice of onions potential are beneficial enough for keeping your heart healthy and reducing the chance of occurrence of any severe cardiovascular disease. The abundant plant-based sulfur compounds, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants in onions help to lower the levels of LDL (Low- Density Lipoprotein) or ‘bad cholesterol and prevent the increase in the amounts of these bad cholesterols inside your heart, which can later turn into severe risks of developing heart-related diseases like heart attacks, strokes, cardiac arrests and so on. Onions also help to keep the level of HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) or ‘good cholesterol in optimum proportions in the body so that good heart health is maintained.
6. Rich in Antioxidants:
Onions provide a rich supply of healthy and essential antioxidants such as flavonoids and quercetin, and anthocyanins in red onions, that are required for inhibiting oxidation in your body. Antioxidants that are provided by onions within your body help to reduce the chances of cell damage by the rapid oxidative function of the disease-causing free radicals. This necessary action of antioxidants helps in preventing the risk of developing any chronic disease such as diabetes mellitus, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and so on.
But one should keep one fact in mind, the health extracts in onions may help to prevent the occurrences of some severe diseases in your body, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, cholesterol, or any heart-related disorder. But onions cannot treat these diseases completely once these have already affected your body. Onions might help to control this disease, but to cure them completely, you should take the advice of your concerned health care expert.
Adverse Effects Of Onions:
Apart from being extremely nutritious and beneficial for health, overconsumption or improper consumption of onions can cause several types of adverse effects on your body. Certain people should limit or avoid the consumption of onions. Some of the side effects of having onions can be the following:
1. Allergic reactions after having onions:
Some might show allergic reactions after consuming onions, which is scientifically termed ‘onion intolerance.’ Some might experience digestion-related issues such as bloating, stomach upset, gastric issues, cramping, or indigestion. Those who show allergic responses after having onions or dishes that contain onions should try to limit or avoid any food item that contains onions.
2. Allergies in the eye and mouth:
Some might feel extreme irritability in the eyes or within the mouth, or sometimes inside the food pipe after consuming onions. Tears coming down your eyes due to the production of lachrymatory factor while chopping onions are also quite common issues. This can also cause irritation and discomfort in your eyes.
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