Onion is one of the most requisite kitchen ingredients that are used to add an interesting texture to the curries, salads and other delicacies. Moreover, it not only adds to the flavour but also promotes health. According to the book ‘Healing Foods’ by DK Publishing, onion is a part of the allium family. This ingredient contains dozens of medicinal chemical compounds that have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory actions in the body and promote good heart and gut health. If you thought onions are just known for their health benefits, then you haven’t used them for your skin and hair. We suggest some amazing onion benefits for skin and hair that will convince you to start using them right now.
Peel back an onion and what will you find? Layer upon layer of health benefits. Onions are an aromatic that is used as the base for many recipes and help foods reach their true flavor potential. But be careful while prepping onions: a lot of the nutrients are found in the outer layers and can be lost if the onion is over-peeled. Don’t be afraid of crying when you cut onion. With proper technique you can get a finely chopped onion with out shedding a single tear.
Nutritional Composition of Raw Onions
One cup of chopped onion contains approximately:
a) 64 calories
b) 15 grams of carbohydrate
c) 0 grams of fat
d) 3 grams of fiber
e) 2 grams of protein
f) 0 grams of cholesterol
g) 7 grams of sugar
h) 10% or more of the daily value for vitamin C, vitamin B-6 and manganese.
i) They also contain small amounts of calcium, iron, folate, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium and the antioxidants quercetin and sulfur.
1. Stronger Immunity
The defense mechanism of our body is our immune system and a healthy immune system will ensure we do not contract diseases that are caused due to bacteria, fungus, and viral infections. Nature has many natural ways to help prevent free radicals from affecting our body. Onions are one of these natural ways to build a stronger immunity. The vitamin C present in onions is the reason onions are believed to protect us from many diseases. The phytonutrients present in onions help the antioxidant properties of the vegetable to take full effect.
Free radicals that enter the body and cause abnormal cell growth lead to cancer. Cancer is a disease that keeps on growing. Prevention is the cure in this case, and using foods that help reduce its chances is the best option.
Onions contain phytonutrients such as quercetin and other flavonoids that help fight the free radicals. Sulfur-compounds found in onions are also helpful in fighting the effects of cancer.
3. Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of onions
Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of onions have been proven. One study also suggested that freshly chopped raw onions have these anti-bacterial properties, not chopped onion which has been allowed to sit for a day or two.
Chewing raw onions improve our oral health (though your breath may stink). They help eliminate bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and gum issues.
It is rich in dietary fiber, which acts as a natural laxative and ensures comfortable bowel movements. Fiber helps clean the intestines and remove waste from the body. Onions also contain saponins that help relieve stomach aches and cramps.
6. Helps Manage Anemia
Anemia is caused iron deficiency and can be a fatal disease. There are various conventional medicines that help balance and maintain the levels of hemoglobin in our bodies. However, going the natural route prevents us from the side effects of the conventional medication. It contain 0.2mg of iron per 100 gram and a good amount of folate. Folate is a phytochemical that helps absorb iron to its full potential and is often recommended to pregnant women.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that can hit at anytime if you lead a sedentary lifestyle and eat processed and junk foods. The biggest problem in managing diabetes is maintaining a safe blood sugar level. Raw onion consumption is recommended to keep your sugar levels in check and prevent them from getting out of hand.
There are often instances when we start losing hair or it starts going gray. This may be due to age, stress or lack of specific nutrients. Eating protein and potassium-rich foods is helpful in preventing these complications. There are many hair masks that can be made with onions to apply, which you can apply to your hair and scalp. Not only are onions known to promote hair growth, but is also a good remedy for dandruff. Mixing onion juice with yogurt and leaving it on the hair for half an hour can help strengthen your hair and cleanse your scalp.
9. Anti-fungal and Antimicrobial
Not only do onions prevent infections and viral diseases from entering the body, they also help fight the bacteria present in our mouths. Some people recommend chewing an onion in the morning for 3 minutes to get rid of the bacteria in the mouth.
I still remember being advised by my grandmother to rub a sliced onion on the affected area if stung by a blue bottle or a bee or when I scrapped my knee. I do not know how that worked, but it did provide instant relief. Same goes for ear irritation, add a few drops of onion juice to a cotton pad and apply it on your ear to get rid of the pain and discomfort.