Knowing the health benefits of onions, the defense ministry of Moldova added onions and garlic to their soldiers' daily diet to boost the immune system. The measure was taken after 24 of its soldiers fell sick with swine flu. This news was reported in Nov 2009.
Other than strengthening the immune system, adding onions to your diet may also help fight allergies. This is due to the presence of quercetin, a flavonoid that is also found in green tea, black tea, apples and red wine that has the antioxidant, anti-histamine, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. People with health issues like having asthma, sinusitis and hives would gain from the health benefits of onions.
Onions also contain another flavonoid called anthocyanins, the pigment that gives the color of onions. Studies have shown that this dietary antioxidant may lower the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, ulcers and preventing stroke. Eating onions can assist in managing cholesterol levels, fighting bacterial infection and preventing premature aging.
Claims made on the health benefits of onions include helping alleviate sore throats and common colds, reduce swellings, and heal blisters and boils. It isn't surprising because onions contain many nutrients. Raw onions contain carbohydrates, protein, dietary fiber, natural sugars, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, manganese, selenium, vitamin C, the B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin K, copper, fluoride and phytosterols.
Shallots have more nutritional value than the bigger onions. Both shallots and green onions contain very high amounts of vitamin A. Raw green onions also contain high amounts of beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin K.
Lutein and zeaxanthin usually are found together. They are antioxidants and are beneficial for eye or vision health. One of the benefits of green onions is that it may help reduce macular degeneration, an ailment that can cause blindness among older people.
There is 207mcg of vitamin K or phylloquinone from a 100g of raw green onions. Yellow onions only contain 21mcg while you'll get only 0.3mcg from sweet onions. Vitamin K helps in the clotting of blood, deposit calcium and protect the heart.
There are two types of onions namely green onions and dry onions. Green onions are those that are harvested when their shoots are still green. They are also referred to as scallions, spring onions, salad onions and onion sticks. The green onions which comprise of the shoots and bulbs are mostly used as toppings for savory dishes.
The dry onions are subdivided to two types and have many varieties and names. One type is the fall/winter onions and the other is the spring/summer onions. Among the dry onions are Vidalia, red onions, yellow onions, white onions, boiling onions, sweet imperial, Walla Walla, shallots, Spanish onions, garden onions, spring sweet and quite a number more. Most of the names were derived from where the onions are grown or the color of the onions.
To get the health benefits of onions, include onions to your cooking or salads. You can also eat it raw or pickled. Onion soup is a delicious appetizer. Onion rings make great snacks. You can also purchase onion powder, minced onions or onion flakes for seasoning, onion juice for dressing and onion dip to dip your chips.