Introduction to Onion
Health Benefits of Onions
Onions have a wide range of beneficial effects on the body, especially when eaten raw. Onions are loaded with flavonoids, phytochemicals, antioxidants and many other healthy compounds that are beneficial for human health. Let’s throw some light at the advantages of eating onions.
Lowers High Blood Glucose Levels
Onions contain active compounds that help in lowering high blood glucose levels. Onion consumption stimulates the release of insulin, improves overall insulin action and enhances the uptake of glucose by cells which is further used as a source of energy rather than increasing the blood glucose levels. A study published in 2010 showed that adding 100 grams of raw onion to the diet of individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus reduced the fasting blood glucose levels by 40 mg/dl.
Reduces High Cholesterol Levels
Cysteine, a healthy compound present in onion possesses lipid lowering action. Consumption of onion is associated with lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It further reduces the activity of enzymes that lead to synthesis of fatty acids and triglycerides. Onions also help in lowering total cholesterol levels by increasing the excretion of bile acids from the body. Excess cholesterol from the body is excreted in bile acids, hence removal of bile acids is a good way to lower cholesterol levels. Furthermore, consumption of onion increases the breakdown of fat and helps in improving overall lipid profile.
Onions contain phytochemicals (plant chemicals that promote good health) that inhibit the growth of bacteria. Studies have revealed that onion and onion juice kill the bacteria and further prevent its growth and spread. Bacteria that cause food-borne illnesses are sensitive to “Allicin”, a compound present in onions. Flavonols, quercetin and kaempferol are some compounds present in onion that possess anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties that fight against bacterial growth.