Onions are a wonderful food, and raw or cooked, they can add so much flavor and nutrition to virtually any meal you whip up. There are many varieties of onions, including red, yellow, white, sweet and tangy or sharp and savory. All of these have some key things in common: they’re delicious, nutritious and above all, great for your health!
The Health Benefits of Onions
Onions have a variety of known health benefits. They are a major source of polyphenols and flavonoids which act as powerful antioxidants. They protect cells and body against damage caused by free radicals.
Onions are heart-healthy, good for regulating blood sugar, and have anti-inflammatory properties that make them useful on many levels. They’ve also been shown to lower the risk of some forms of cancer, making onions one of nature’s bona fide miracle foods.
Cardiovascular benefits – The acrid smell of the onion is due to its sulfur content—and this sulfuric aspect is what lends the onion its heart-health benefits. The sulfur in onions helps prevent blood clotting problems, making it one of nature’s blood thinners. Onions are also great for cholesterol management and lowered triglycerides in animal studies.
Anti-inflammatory properties – The sulfuric nature of onions wins again with regard to reducing inflammation. A key component in the bulbous portion of onions called “Onionin A” has anti-inflammatory properties, making it an ideal diet addition for those who wrestle with inflammation issues on a regular basis. You can also add more foods that reduce inflammation to your daily nutrition.
Blood sugar regulation – Onions are high in the mineral chromium, which plays a role in regulating blood sugar levels. In a 2010 study published in Environmental Health Insights, scientists found that the blood glucose levels of the study participants was significantly lowered for several hours after consuming a serving of red onion. You can find more foods to control blood sugar levels in my article about the best foods to control type 2 diabetes.
Bone health – Calcium and vitamin D are well-known for their promotion of good bone health. Well, add onions to the list, too! A study published in Menopause in 2009 found that women of menopausal age—both pre- and post-menopausal—who ate onions on a daily basis had higher bone density than their onion-shunning peers. Read more about bone health in my article about 4 steps to prevent osteoporosis.
Cancer protection – If the reduction of the risk of developing cancer isn’t a reason to eat your fill of onions, I don’t know what is. Research performed at the University of Maryland found that onions appeared to have cancer-fighting properties, reducing the risk of developing ovarian, endometrial, and breast cancers as well as lung, colon and prostate cancers. This is because onions both contain and play a role in facilitating the body’s ability to absorb a substance called “quercetin,” which has cancer-fighting abilities. You can find more foods that protect against cancer development in my previous article.
Improving digestion – Onions are rich in fiber which improves digestion and bowel movement. They also contain a special type of soluble fiber which promotes good bacteria growth in your gut.
Home Remedies Using Onions
Hard science has shown many benefits of onions, but there are “old wives’ tales” and anecdotes passed on through the generations that sing even more praises of these delicious root vegetables.
In spite of being pure hearsay and not being backed by scientific research, many people swear by the following folk remedies. Why not give them a try and see for yourself?
Clearing irritant from the eye
Anyone who has ever cut an onion in an enclosed room knows that it’s sure to make you cry unless you jump through hoops to prevent the acrid sulfur emanating from the cut onion from reaching your eye, such as putting on fans or submerging them in cold milk or water.
This can be an annoyance, but it can also come in handy if you have debris or other irritant caught in your eye. In this case instead of rubbing your eye and risking worsening your condition:
- Cut an onion in half.
- Take half the onion and hold it directly below the irritated eye—careful not to touch!
- Let the tears flow and help to clear the debris from the eye.
Gobbling down an onion may be the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling nauseated. However, if you feel like you’re going to vomit or have been vomiting, onions may be able to help. Try this:
- Grate and strain the liquid from one whole white onion.
- Brew a mug of peppermint tea.
- Measure out two teaspoons of onion juice and drink it down.
- After five minutes, drink the mug of tea.
- Repeat this process until vomiting stops and nausea ebbs away.
Onions for wart removal
With so many wart removal cures available over-the-counter that contain strong acids or freezing implements that can harm healthy skin around the wart and cause painful irritation, why not try for a gentler method that comes from nature—and is far less expensive than the pricey chemical alternatives.
- Cut a sliver of onion flesh just the same size as the wart.
- Place the onion onto the wart and secure in place with a small bandage.
- Change the onion piece and bandage daily.
- Within days, the wart will be gone.
Another option is to use Apple Cider Vinegar for wart removal.
Onions for removing earwax and earache
If you have an excess buildup of earwax or suffer from earache, you may resort to extreme measures from time to time to keep it under control. If drugstore remedies haven’t worked for you, why not give an onion a chance to do what chemical concoctions have failed to do? Here is how to use an onion for removing earwax:
- Carve up an onion, reserving the innermost core.
- Cut the core of the onion into an ear-canal sized plug, making sure it is long enough to grip easily.
- Place the onion core into your ear and leave it in place overnight.
- When you awaken, remove the onion piece and cleanse the ear. Your wax will come right out!
Another option is to use this homemade garlic mullein oil for ear infection treatment.
Relieving sore throat and cough
Using onions for treating the symptoms of common cold is an old home remedy which is attributed to the chemical compounds such as polyphenols, flavonoids and quercetin that research shows to have potential anti-inflammatory, anti viral and antioxidant properties. You can use onions make this easy and effective homemade syrup to relieve sore throat and cough that contains only 3 ingredients.
Improving hair growth
Onion juice can help you re-grow your hair and make it stronger. This is attributed to the sulfur content which is one of the main building blocks of hair. It improves blood circulation and provides the hair follicles with sufficient nourishment.
Onion also has anti-bacterial properties, so it helps with scalp infections that might contribute to hair loss. You can find more information about this subject including instructions in my article on How To Make Onion Juice For Hair Growth & Strong Hair.
Onion kills intestinal parasites
The sulfur compounds in onions are anti-parasitic. Onion juice is very effective for intestinal worms, especially tapeworm and thread worms. Drink 2 tsp. of onion juice twice a day for 2 weeks. You can also consume other foods and herbs that naturally kill intestinal parasites.
Boosting your immune system
The antioxidants in onions protect the body against free radicals and help encourage a strong immune system. You can prepare at home this wonderful health tonic which combines some of nature’s most potent plants, including onion, and brings them together in a powerful concoction. This master tonic has been credited with healing not only common colds and infections, but also chronic conditions and antibiotic-resistant infections. It is 100% natural and works as an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-parasitic and anti-fungal substance. It boosts your immune system and helps you combat even stubborn diseases.
Relieving wisdom teeth pain
Chewing on onion is another tested home remedy. If chewing proves to be too painful for you, place a slice of onion on the sore area. Alternatively, you can extract some onion juice and dab it on. Shallots, red and yellow onions tend to be more effective compared to white and sweet onions. There are also other home remedies to get rid of wisdom tooth pain that you can try at home.
Onion relieves mosquito bites
Onion slices are a commonly used method for reducing the swelling and itching of mosquito bites. Simply place a fresh slice of onion on the affected area for a few minutes until the itching subsides. Then rinse with water. Or you can try other natural ways to relieve mosquito bites.