All vegetables are important for our health, but some of them have truly unique properties. Such is the onion, a member of the Allium family, a genus of flowering plants, that also includes garlic, shallots, leeks and chives.
In terms of color, onions can be white, red, yellow and all varieties add a specific spiciness to dishes, they are sought after for cold salads, warm soups, for burgers or as a seasoning. Fresh, sauteed, caramelized or cooked, onions are an indispensable part of many dishes, giving them their own charm.
Onions are so valuable, because of their health benefits, which continue to grow with every study that is done on this beneficial vegetable. It is an excellent source of vitamins - C and B6, iron, folic acid and calcium. The manganese in its composition makes it a good anti-inflammatory agent and helps the body during colds and viral attacks.
Phytochemical compounds - allium and allyl disulfide - are extracted from the onion and are converted into allicin under the action of enzymes when the onion is cut. These compounds have anti-cancer and anti-diabetic effects, they dilate blood vessels by releasing nitric oxide. In this way, blood pressure is normalized, blood clots do not form and the risk of coronary disease decreases significantly.
Onions contain polyphenols and the flavonoid quercetin, with anti-inflammatory properties and these, along with other beneficial ingredients, create the onion's reputation as a defense against diseases.
After cooking, the quercetin in the onion is preserved, but passes into the broth. It is good to know that the flavonoids in onions are concentrated in their outer layers, so when cleaning it is good to remove as little of the outer skin as possible.
It has been known since ancient times that consumption of onions has a protective function for the body and is beneficial for every part of it. It reduces the risk of stomach cancer, has antioxidant properties, protects against free radicals and is a good food preservative.
It is difficult to determine whether onions have a more essential role as a food - to flavor other products or for medicinal purposes. The important thing is that it is an important spicy element in food and complements well with many foods and at the same time supports the body - from cell strength, to prevention against inflammation and to purify the blood.