Now I realize an article about onions is not terribly Christmassy or even sexy. However, throughout the holiday season, we all want to look our best and stay as healthy as possible and, despite their pungent aroma, the humble onion must not be overlooked. Actually, the onion, in my opinion, is less humble than a true member of the vegetable royalty.
I was drawn to write this article after a conversation with a Jordanian lady in Central Park. Our children were playing together and we were discussing the huge number of vaccinations the U.S. insists that children get – up from just a few in our childhood. We were both frothing at the mouth about the flu vaccination and its implications for destroying the immune system of our youth as well as our right to choose what our children’s bodies are pumped with. She told me that when she grew up in Jordan, when children got the flu, their parents and grandparents would slice onions and put them in the feet of socks and draw the socks on the children for the night. Apparently, it is a magical solution for fever and flu. Intrigued, I was drawn to explore further and found a list of the below benefits.
(Regarding the flu shot, if you don’t want your child to get it – just find a doctor on the same page and have them tick off the form without actually injecting your child. Stories about deaths and paralysis of children from this year’s flu shot are more and more in the news.)
If you are worried about onion breath: take a shot of vodka or hydrogen peroxide (spit out the h.p.) – both kill bacteria in the mouth, brush your teeth and tongue with baking soda and floss, rinse with water, and chew parsley or mint leaves!
Note the amazingly decadent recipe at the end of this article…
- Onions have antibiotic, antiseptic, antimicrobial and carminative properties and help fight infections.
- Onions are rich in sulfur, fibers, potassium, vitamin B, vitamin C and they are low in fat, cholesterol and sodium.
- A mixture of onion juice and honey can alleviate fever, the common cold, coughing, sore throats, allergies etc.
- A small piece of onion can work against side effects of fever if it’s kept on the fore head or feet.
- A small piece of onion when inhaled can stop or slow down the bleeding through the nose.
- An onion a day can relieve insomnia or sleeping disorders.
- Onions can improve the digestive system. If you have digestion problem, onions can help by increasing the release of digestion juices.
- Onion juice can relieve burnt skin or an insect bite or a bee sting. It may burn more initially but it will heal effectively.
- Onions can be used to prevent cancers. Onions and shallots have potent antioxidant and anti-proliferation activities and that the more total phenolic and flavonoid content an onion has, the stronger its antioxidant activity and protective effect.
- You can protect yourself from osteoporosis and atherosclerosis by consuming onions daily. Human studies have shown that onion can help increase our bone density and may be of special benefit to women of menopausal age who are experiencing loss of bone density.
- Onions increases insulin in the body and also helps diabetics by controlling the sugar levels in the blood.
- The bad cholesterol that causes heart problems can be alleviated with daily onion consumption. Onions keep you stay safe from coronary diseases and also protects the good cholesterol.
- Inflammation from arthritis can be relieved with onions.
- An old wives remedy to get some relief from body pains: fry onions in sesame or castor oil and eat.
- A well-known tricks to remove dark patches or pigments on your face is to apply onion and turmeric juice on that area.
- Onion juice is also used to alleviate ear and eye problems. This juice is used for infants as eye drops for clear vision.
- This is also used for toothaches and tooth decaying.
- Onions have rejuvenation properties on the body tissues. In and of itself, the high sulfur content of onions may provide direct benefits to our connective tissue. Many of our connective tissue components require sulfur for their formation
- For few types of moles, onion juice works efficiently by removing them.
- For good memory and strong nervous system, consume onions.
- Onions can help menstrual disorders. Raw onions should be consumed before a few days at the beginning of your cycle.
- Use onion juice on the hair or the scalp to rid hair if lice and dandruff. This is one of the most prominent of onion benefits for hair.
- Onions contain water, protein, fibers, manganese, copper, biotin, folate, potassium, calcium, vitamin C, iron and B1 and B6.
You should consume between 100 – 150 grams of onions in any form depending on your likes and dislikes.
Onion: Skin Benefits
This humble vegetable can provide you with healthy and glowing skin, thanks to the presence of rich amounts of antioxidant vitamins A, C and E. Both consumption and topical application of onions can provide numerous benefits to your skin.
- Anti-aging Benefits:
Onions possess enormous anti-aging benefits. The antioxidant vitamins A, C and E fight against the damage caused by harmful UV rays as well as prevent free radical damage which is responsible for causing premature aging of our skin. Onion is one of the richest sources of quercetin, the most powerful antioxidant that can keep your skin wrinkle-free. Vitamins and sulfur, on the other hand, protect your skin, and keep it soft and supple. The anti-aging qualities of onion can be attributed to the presence of sulfur-rich phytochemicals. Massaging your skin with fresh onion juice helps increase blood circulation and improves the overall appearance of your skin by imparting a more youthful and radiant appearance.
- Treatment of Acne:
The anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities of onion can work wonders on your skin. It is a powerful antiseptic which protects your skin from acne-causing bacteria and other skin infections. Onions can be used in the treatment of acne and pimples. For this purpose, you can mix 1 tablespoon of onion juice or extract with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and apply it on your face. Leave it for 20 minutes and then wash off. Apart from topical application, regular consumption of onion can also give you miraculous results in case of acne.
- Lightens the Complexion:
Onions help in purifying your blood and supply your body with flavonoids which assist Vitamin C in its important functions. The consumption of onions can keep your skin healthy and glowing. You can prepare your own face mask by combining 1 ½ tablespoons freshly extracted onion juice with 2 tablespoons gram flour, ½ teaspoon milk and a pinch of nutmeg. Mix all these ingredients to form a thick paste and add some more milk if required to reach the desired consistency. You can also add few drops of lavender essential oil to beat the smell of onions. Apply it all over your face after cleansing and leave for 15 to 20 minutes or until it dries. Dab a cotton ball in milk and remove the pack by massaging in gentle circular movements. This will exfoliate the dead skin cells as well as lighten the skin tone.
27. Treatment of Dark Spots and Pigmentation:
Onion juice is excellent for getting rid of dark spots and pigmentation. The rich variety of phytonutrients and antioxidants in onion nourish your skin while removing skin impurities. You can prepare a face pack by mixing equal quantities of onion juice and fresh yogurt. You can also add a few drops of any essential oil for a pleasant aroma. Massage your face with this mixture, using gentle circular movements for 10 to 15 minutes. This should be done daily for best results.
28. Treatment of Stings and Bites:
Onions can be used to soothe stings and bug bites. All you need to do is place an onion slice on your sting or bite. The anti-inflammatory properties of onion help in reducing the burn, itchiness and swelling caused by insect and bug bites.
Onion: Hair Benefits
The benefits of onion do not end here. This layered vegetable is great for your hair as well. Onion juice is often used as a remedy for various hair problems. Some of the ways in which onion can benefit your hair are as follows.
29. Treatment of Thinning Hair:
Onion is quite helpful in treating thinning hair. All you need to do is juice an onion in a juicer and add ½ teaspoon of honey to it. You can add any essential oil of your choice to suppress the smell. Apply this mixture all over your hair or onto the portions that appear thin. Leave it overnight and do not cover your head. Shampoo your hair the next morning. This should be done at least once to thrice a week for best results.
30. Treatment of Hair Loss and Dandruff:
You can prepare a hair mask using onion to combat hair loss, dandruff and an itchy scalp. Onion juice is particularly beneficial for increasing the length of your hair. All you need to do is grind or mash an onion and strain it through a grinder to obtain the juice. Mix this juice with equal amounts of olive or coconut oil and apply it on your scalp and hair. Cover your head with a shower cap and leave it for 2 hours. Rinse it off with a shampoo to get rid of hair stickiness. This hair pack will improve the ability of your hair for re-growth besides imparting a shiny, glossy look to your hair. It should be applied twice a month for best results.
31. Maintains Hair Color:
You can apply onion juice on your hair to impart a nice coppery shade as well as to make your hair glossy. However, if you wish to maintain the natural color of your hair, you can blend onion with adequate amounts of mustard oil and apply it on your hair. Mustard oil will suppress the color lightening effect of onion.
32. Natural Conditioner:
To condition your hair naturally, you can apply a mixture of onion and fenugreek paste on your hair. Keep it for half an hour and wash off with a mild shampoo.
33.So what are the benefits of eating onions for your fertility?
- For men, onions are supposed to increase testosterone production, they are also high in antioxidants which protects sperm from damage. Onions are reported to increase sperm number, percentage of viability and sperm motion
- Onions enhance libido
- Onion cleanse the liver, kidneys and blood. Sulphur rich foods like garlic and onions can help to detoxify heavy metals from the body
- Onions can fight insulin resistance which is especially important for women with PCOS
How to Select and Store?
Selection: Both dry and green onions are available all year round. While buying onions, choose the ones that are clean, well-shaped, with no opening at the neck. Their necks should be tightly closed and should not have a thick woody center. They should be firm with crisp, dry, bright and shiny outer skin with a crackly feel. The base should be whitish in color, measuring about 2 to 3 inches. Avoid the ones with soft spots, damp and moldy patches as this is an indication of inferior quality. Sprouting onions should be avoided as this indicates age and poor storage. However, if sweet onions have been sprouted in your pantry, you can use the green sprouts as a substitute for scallions. There should not be dark powdery patches under the skin as this is an indication of mold which may spoil the flesh. They should have a mild smell.
Storage: Dry onions can be stored for several months. Whole onions should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place where they will last for about 4 weeks. Avoid refrigerating them as this will turn them soft. As they absorb moisture, they should not be stored below the sink. Often partial onions remain after the preparation of meals. These onions can be stored for reuse. They should be wrapped in a plastic or placed in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for use within 2 to 3 days. Besides proper storage, onions should be inspected regularly. Slimy or discolored onions should be discarded. Sprouting onions can be eaten after chopping away the green portion. Spring onions can be refrigerated for up to a week.
Cooking and Eating Tips:
Onions are one of the most versatile vegetables that can be eaten both in the raw and cooked form. They can impart a unique flavor to any recipe. They can be cooked in various ways such as boiling, sauteing, frying or caramelizing. Given below are some tips for using onions.
- Raw onions can be added to salads. You can cut onions in rings and add them to chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and beets tossed in lemon juice. Spring onions can form part of green salads. You can prepare a classic Italian salad by combining sliced onions with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, tossed in olive oil.
- Chopped or sliced onions can be fried and used as a base for pasta sauces, stews and soups. Onions can be fried in butter or margarine over medium heat for about 3 minutes until they turn crispy and golden brown. They should be removed with tongs and placed on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Chopped onions can be combined with tomatoes, avocados and jalapenos to prepare a guacamole salsa dip. Even plain rice can be topped with green onions and sesame seeds to make it more interesting.
- Sauteed onions can enhance the flavor of any vegetarian dish. Sauteing enhances the texture and flavor of onions. This method involves browning the onions which creates a rich flavor. These can be added to sauteed veggies, soups and pasta dishes.
- Sweating involves gently cooking the onion to make it soft, sweet and reduce the sulfur content, imparting it with a milder taste. These onions are added to dishes such as risottos, rice pilafs and braised meats to impart a natural sweetness.
Here is a totally foogasmic recipe for pasta:
I got this recipe out of the Moosewood cookbook – an amazing cookbook for vegetarians.
- 1⁄2 cup olive oil
- 4-6 large onions thinly sliced
- half tsp salt
- 1 c dry white whine
- 1 c feta or chevre cheese
- 3⁄4 lb penne
- 1 c chopped walnuts, toasted
- Parmesan to top
Heat olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan. Add onions, and saute over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Add salt, lower heat, and cook for 10 minutes. Add white wine, turn heat back up to medium, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
Start boiling water for pasta. Stir in crumbled cheese, and turn heat to low while pasta cooks.
After cooked pasta is drained add it to the sauce, and stir briefly in pan before serving. Sprinkle with walnuts and Parmesan, and serve.
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