Onions - Health Benefits and Nutritive Value
Onion or "Allium Cepa" belongs to the lily family of plants. The other members of this family include shallots, garlic, leeks etc. There are over 500 species of onion such as green onion, yellow onion, white onion and many more. Each type of variety has its own unique flavour and taste, ranging from very strong to mildly sweet. Not only is onion being used for centuries especially in east to add taste to foods, but is also known for its therapeutic, medicinal and ornamental effects.
Onion contains sulfoxides, sulphides and thiosulfinates which produce the eye-irritating effects. The thiosulfinates exhibit antimicrobial properties that make onions quite effective in treating infections induced by E.coli, Bacillus subtilis and Salmonella. Researches have clearly demonstrated that onions are quite useful in preventing atherosclerosis and lowering cholesterol levels. The sulphides in onions help lower blood pressure and blood lipids as well. Moreover, onions make a rich natural dietary source of flavonoids, which are known to provide protection against numerous cardiovascular diseases.
As onions possess compounds with fibrinolytic activity, they make excellent natural anti-clotting agents and help suppress platelet-clumping. Onions also make a rich dietary source of fructo-oligosaccharides which suppress the growth of harmful bacteria and stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in colon. Red onions contain antioxidants which provide protection against tumour growth especially in the colon.
In addition, the use of onion is effective for the treatment of poor appetite, colds and coughs. Onion is beneficial in treating the different health problems such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, insomnia, bronchitis, diabetes mellitus and sinus conditions. Moreover, it makes a natural remedy for inflammation of nerves or "vertigo" and treating skin problems such as vitiligo, freckles and warts. It is also slightly laxative, is beneficial for the nails, hair and eyes, helps destroy tapeworms and other parasites in the intestines and increases the secretion of urine. Furthermore, onions are believed to decrease bronchial spasms; thus reducing allergy-induced bronchial constriction in old asthma patients.
As far as nutritive value of onion is concerned, it contains lots of vitamins and minerals. Onion makes a rich source of vitamin A, B and C. Minerals include phosphorus, calcium, and potassium. To your surprise, it also contains protein 1.4mg/100gm and