The onion is a herbaceous plant that has an edible underground bulb , classified in the Amaryllidaceae family . Its bulb is made up of several layers covered by binzas, between which there are thin membranes. Its origin dates back to Asia, from where it spread to the rest of the world in ancient times, being cultivated as a vegetable for human consumption .There are many varieties of onion, with notable differences between them , either in terms of their morphology, elongated or rounded, or by the coloration of their membranes, which varies from white to yellow, pink, purple and even red. This plant is edible from its bulbs to its stems, however, the most common is to ingest the bulbs , which have a characteristic taste and smell .The substance responsible for its odor is allyl sulfide , whose chemical formula is C 6 H 10 S. Thanks to this property of expelling aromas and adding flavor, it is often used to accompany food as a condiment or garnish . Various health benefits have been found over the centuries, and medicinal properties have been attributed to it, some proven, some not.

What is onion used for?

In addition to being a good food and accompaniment to so many dishes, the onion has had a multitude of uses throughout history, both medicinal, mystical or esoteric, depending on the local culture and traditions.

It serves to:

  • Take nutrients
  • Detoxify the body
  • Deacidify the body
  • Treat respiratory conditions
  • Strengthen the nervous system and brain
  • Prevent cardiovascular problems
  • Reconstitute the skin
  • Benefit diabetic people
  • Avoid cramps
  • Improve hair

Take nutrients

Onion is a vegetable that provides us with a large amount of nutrients such as:

  • Carbohydrates: carbohydrates such as glucose and its derived saccharides
  • Vegetable proteins
  • Minerals: calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron
  • Vitamina A (Retinol)
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid). It is very abundant in this vitamin.
  • Vitamin E (Tocopherol)
  • Natural fibers
  • High water content

However, a characteristic that may be unique is the sulfur it contains, as it is also beneficial for the body , especially to synthesize collagen .

Detoxify the body

The onion serves to detoxify and purge the body.

The onion is capable of detoxifying the body, thanks to the fact that it has a good amount of fiber , which accelerates intestinal transit, eliminating biochemical waste. In addition, it has diuretic qualities that allow us a better elimination of toxins through the urinary system, helping us to combat fluid retention and constipation .

Deacidify the body

The consumption of onion helps the deacidification of the blood, thanks to the fact that it offers substances such as soda (NaOH) and potash (KOH), and sulfides, which help in the acid-base balance in the blood, whose pH must be kept in a value of 6.3.

When the pH drops, the fluid becomes acidic. The consumption of onion helps to raise the value to the ideal value of 6.3, stabilizing it in the same way.

Treat respiratory conditions

For centuries, onion has been used in traditional medicine to treat various respiratory conditions. This thanks to the fact that this plant contains a very volatile essential oil (allyl and propyl sulfides, which give it its characteristic smell), which acts as a bronchodilator, helping in cases of bronchitis, asthma and other respiratory conditions .

Strengthen the nervous system and brain

Onion is a vegetable that provides a high content of phosphorus, an essential chemical element for the nervous and synaptic impulses of our brain to occur , which is why it is very useful to improve intellectual and nervous-motor abilities. Furthermore, alertness and movement processes are promoted.

Prevent cardiovascular problems

The onion provides us quercithin , which is a flavonoid that helps us in many aspects of health, preventing conditions of the cardiovascular system , such as arteriosclerosis, high cholesterol and hypertension. The onion, due to its iron content, collaborates in the formation of red blood cells, and thus in the transport of oxygen through the blood.

The frequent consumption of onion, mainly in raw form, such as in salads or as a garnish, reduces the risk of suffering from heart and circulatory diseases, both because it has quercithin, and because of its content of allinase , an enzyme that reduces cholesterol levels in the blood.

Reconstitute the skin

Beneficial properties of onion have been discovered for the skin, thanks to its emollient, antiseptic and healing properties, which is why it is used at the skin level to:

  • Treat various conditions such as acne
  • Disinfect superficial wounds
  • Dermal treatments to reduce wrinkles

Benefit diabetic people

The onion can manifest itself in different colors.

Onion contains glucokinin , which acts favorably in lowering blood sugar levels ; In addition, the sugars that compose it are relatively scarce.

Avoid cramps

Onion is one of the vegetables that contribute potassium to the diet. This chemical element helps us to carry out muscle movement satisfactorily, without the tissue being damaged or involuntarily contracted, thus avoiding muscle cramps.

Improve hair

The sulfur contained in the onion is important for the body in the production of collagen, one of the most representative components of hair, but it is also useful to treat cases of baldness due to dandruff, because like other forms of sulfur it works against seborrhea and infections of the scalp.

Restrictions on onion consumption

Onion can be ingested freely, except for medical contradiction. It is one of the most consumed vegetables in the world, and also one of the healthiest. Its strong taste and odor make it unpleasant for some people, especially young children.

When the onion is covered with aluminum foil, and it is subjected to a roasting process on a grill heated by burning coal, for example, this vegetable softens and takes on a sweet, much more pleasant flavor , although the heat also tends to give off volatile substances that compose it, impoverishing its nutritional content.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the professional opinion of a physician or nutritionist.

Samantha Robson
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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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