There is almost no soup, gravy, or sauce that is made without onions. An onion is probably one of the few vegetables that you will have. There’s almost no soup, gravy, or sauce that is made without onions. An onion is probably one of the few vegetables that you will see in your kitchen vegetable stock and possibly the first that anyone learns to use in the kitchen. Onions are a staple in kitchens around the world, especially in India. Indian cooking is incomplete without the use of onion. From gravy dishes to dry ones, salads, soups, meat dishes, and more, Indians use onions in the most versatile way.
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Type of Onions
The varieties of onions are endless, and the flavor it adds to your cooking is indispensable. Onions belong to the same family as leeks, shallots, scallions, garlic, and chives. Apart from their distinct flavors, onions are known for their health benefits.
There are many types and varieties of onions grown in the wild, but the most popular ones used for cooking include:
- Red onions – pungent and spicy; incredible for salads, soups, gravies, and rice dishes
- White onions – crisp and sweet; best used in pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, and salads
- Sweet yellow onions – mild and sweet; fantastic for soups and stews, best work when caramelized
- Spring onions – red, white, and sweet; perfect for garnishing
- Leeks – tender and sweet; best used in gravies
- Pearl onions – sweet in flavor; perfect for gravy dishes, especially meat
- Shallots – pungent with a pinch of sweetness; perfect for vinaigrettes
As you can see, there are numerous varieties of onions available, it is time that you understand why you should include onions in your daily diet. With that in mind, we have created this post to help you understand the health benefits of onions, the nutrition value, and some of the best ways to add them to your diet.
Nutrition Value of Onions
While onions add abundant flavor to a wide range of food, they are low in calories. Consider the nutrition table to know more about the nutrition in onions.
1 large onion (150 grams) contain:
- Calories – 60
- Protein – 1.7 gram
- Dietary Fiber – 2.6 grams
- Carbohydrates – 14 grams
- Fat – 0.1 grams
Health Benefits of Onions
These flavorful bulbs are packed with essential minerals and nutrients. And they can be enjoyed either cooked or raw. Onions are super healthy and health experts across the globe recommend adding it to your diet. They are excellent sources of phytochemicals, flavonoids, sulfuric compounds, and vitamin C. The following are the potential health benefits of onions that you must consider.
#1 Helps boost digestive health
Onions are one of the few vegetables that have prebiotics and fiber in abundance. These are essential components for the optimal health of your gut. Prebiotics in onions is broken down by the good bacteria in your intestine and create short-chain fatty acids. According to studies, short-chain fatty acids are responsible for strengthening the gut health, enhance digestion, reduce inflammation in the stomach, and ultimately boost immunity. As per the experts, foods rich in prebiotics aids the digestive health and may help improve the absorption of essential minerals like calcium and iron that can help enhance the production of red blood cells as well as improve bone health.
#2 Onions have antibacterial properties
The antibacterial properties in onion prevent the growth of bacteria inside our bodies. A recent study found that the antibacterial properties in onion can inhibit the growth of Vibrio Cholerae, which is a significant health concern in the third-world countries.
Onions contain a compound called quercetin, which boasts powerful properties to kill bacteria. A study demonstrated that quercetin extracted from onion successfully prevented the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can infect different organs and parts of the body. Therefore, adding onions in your diet can help you fight bacterial infections.
#3 Onions may boost bone density
Onions have been associated with boosting bone density and strength. Onions are a rich source of vitamin C mineral, which plays a crucial role in enhancing bone strength. Since onions are rich in prebiotics, it helps your gut to absorb essential minerals like calcium, which is essential for bone health.
Those suffering from joint pain and chronic diseases like osteoporosis and arthritis are advised to include onions in their daily diet as onions can help reduce oxidative stress, decrease bone loss, and boost antioxidant levels, which may boost bone loss and prevent osteoporosis.
#4 Helps maintain blood sugar levels
Compounds like sulfur and quercetin are known to boast anti-diabetic effects. Onions contain these two compounds in abundance. Thus, consuming onions daily can help you control your blood sugar levels to a great extent.
#5 Onions contain cancer-fighting components
According to several studies, eating 1-7 servings of onions every week may help you lower the risk of ovarian, laryngeal, and colorectal cancer. On the other hand, eating a couple of servings or more per day may help reduce the risk of esophageal and oral cancer. As per the health experts, quercetin found in onions boasts anti-cancer properties that can inhibit cancer cells in lung, endometrial, ovarian, prostate, colon, and breast tumors.
Onions are also very high in antioxidants that help kill cancer-causing cells by removing free radicals from the body. Many studies claim that the antioxidants present in onions can help lessen the side effects that occur from cancer treatments.
#6 Boosts immunity
The polyphenols present in onions act as antioxidants that protect the body against free radicals. When your immune system is not strong and healthy, it protects your body against external viruses and microorganisms trying to enter the body. That means conditions like cold, flu, etc. will be kept at bay. On the other hand, when we talk about a healthy immune system, it means that you have a properly functioning digestive system. Your gut health and immune system are directly related to each other. If your gut is healthy, it makes way for a strong immune system. As per the University of Maryland Medical Center, antioxidants and quercetin in onions help reduce allergic reactions by inhibiting your body from making histamines. Histamines are responsible for making you itch, cry, and sneeze if you have an allergic reaction.
#7 May help lower cholesterol
Good news for heart patients! Eating onions may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The high amounts of chromium and antioxidants present in onion help the arteries to pump blood thoroughly from the heart and to all parts of the body. These components make sure that your arteries and blood vessels are properly transporting blood while removing any cholesterol buildup on their walls. This ensures proper and healthy functioning of the heart.
#8 Aids weight loss
As there is proof that onions help with the digestive health, experts believe that it can largely help those who are trying to lose weight. With proper gut functioning and digestion of food, you won’t feel constipated. The antioxidants in onions help in the proper digestion of food. When you have regular and healthy bowel movements, your body will release excess toxins. The antioxidants also help in cutting down fat from the body. So, adding onions to your weight loss diet can help boost the process.
What are the Best Ways to Add Onions to your Diet?
This pickled onion recipe is easy to put together and is perfect for topping tacos, sandwiches, and salads!
- 1 medium red onion
- 0.5 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
1. Thinly slice red onions and set aside.
2. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour, more if possible. Cover and can store in the refrigerator for a week. Drain onions before using.
A classic Indian accompaniment.
- 1 cup yogurt
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp roasted cumin, crushed
- 0.5 cup sliced onions
- 2 tsp green chilies
- 2 spring coriander leaves
- Garnish chili powder roasted cumin crushed
- Whisk the yogurt along with salt.
- Mix in the cumin powder, sliced onions, chopped green chilies, and coriander leaves.
- Serve garnished with cumin and chili powder.
Onions are a great source of all the necessary nutrients and vitamins required by our body. Onions are not only flavorful but also come with many health benefits. Doctors and health experts recommend adding onions to your daily diet as components like antioxidants, vitamin C, sulfur, etc. make the vegetable a boon for your health. From reducing the risk of cancer to regulating blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, aiding digestive health, and taking care of your heart, and onion is a superfood that you must include in your daily diet.