When was the last time you ate onions? There are many reasons why you should eat these flavorful bulbs more often than you think. They are a great source of flavonoids, vitamin C, phytochemicals, sulphuric compounds, manganese, chromium, and vitamin B6.
Plus, they are low in calories and free of fat or cholesterol.
This vegetable which ranges in color has been used for thousands of years as a cooking ingredient and natural remedy, as well as used in the burial rituals of ancient Egyptians. The most common types are white, red, and yellow onions.
Onions contain flavonoids which can help lower the risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and Parkinson’s. One of the most powerful flavonoid in this vegetable is quercetin.
It can alleviate the symptoms of bladder infections, reduce blood pressure, and improve prostate health.
Other phytochemicals with beneficial properties include cepaene, disulfides, trisulfides, and vinyldithiins, all of them offering antimicrobial and anticancer properties.
Their high antioxidant content helps prevent free radical damage, thus avoiding signs of premature aging and many illnesses and diseases.
By reducing the blood pressure and the risk of heart attack, onions promote the heart health. Also, they help prevent plaque buildup in the arteries, thanks to the quercetin.
Other benefits of onions include improved digestion, bowel movement, bone density, and immune system.
What’s more, the folate content in onions can help alleviate depression. It can also improve the mood, appetite, and sleep.
The high levels of vitamin C, on the other hand, can support the collagen production and maintenance, thus improving the skin and hair quality.
As you can see, onions are incredibly healthy, but are they affecting the blood sugar?
Well, they contain chromium which helps regulate blood glucose. On the other hand, the sulfur it contains increases the secretion of insulin, thus reducing the blood glucose levels.
According to a research in the journal Environmental Health Insights, red onions can help reduce blood glucose levels in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
In 2014, the journal Nutrition published the results of a meta-analysis which states eating raw onion can stabilize liver enzymes and reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Another 2015 rat study shows that onion extract can reduce total cholesterol and blood sugar levels when given with metformin. All rats had diabetes and received a different dose of onion extract along with metformin.
Best results had the rats which received the highest dose of onion extract.
This vegetable also helps strengthen capillaries, thus preventing diabetic retinopathy.
Still, more research is needed to discover the mechanism by which onions could reduce blood glucose.
Since onions are one of the most versatile vegetables, you can eat them in many ways. For example, add them to green salads, tuna salads, soups, stews, or bake them for an hour and eat them with olive oil, salt, pepper, herbs, and flavored vinegar.
Note – even though low in calories, onions can increase the appetite by increasing the metabolic rate.