With far more benefits than most vegetables due to its antioxidant and probiotic effects and used in every cuisine in the world, onion is one of the oldest vegetables known in history.
• The word onion comes from the Latin word unio for ‘single’ or ‘one’ because the onion plant produces a single bulb, unlike garlic, that produces many small bulbs.
• India, China and Australia are the biggest onion producers in the world.
• Onions are native to Asia and the Middle East and have been cultivated for over five thousand years.
• Early American settlers used wild onions to treat coughs, colds and asthma, and to repel insects. In China, onions have been used to treat angina, coughs, bacterial infections, and breathing problems.
• It has a reputation as a potent aphrodisiac and has been referenced in many classic Hindu texts on the art of making love. In ancient Greece onions were commonly used as an aphrodisiac remedy, while in the days of the Egyptians Pharaohs celibate priests were forbidden to eat onions because of the potential effects on their libido.
• Onions were highly regarded by the Egyptians. It was used as currency to pay the workers who built the pyramids, and they were placed in the tombs of kings.
• Dogs, cats, and other animals should not be given onions in any form, due to toxicity during digestion.
Onion Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits:
• Onions and garlic have been shown to lower high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke due to its sulfur compounds, chromium and vitamin B6.
• Quercitin and other flavonoids along with vitamin C in onions help kill harmful bacteria- good addition to meals in cold and flu season.
• Quercetin may also help reduce symptoms like fatigue, depression and anxiety.
• Onions lowers blood sugar levels by increasing the amount of free insulin available.
• Chromium in onions helps maintain a positive hormone balance.
• Onion was singled out as one of the small number of vegetables that contributed to the significant reduction in heart disease risk in a meta-analysis of seven prospective studies.
• Onions may help in reducing the severity of symptoms associated with inflammatory conditions.
• GPCS compound in onions help maintain healthy bones.
• They may help lower your risk of several common cancers.
• They are effective against many bacteria including Bacillus subtilis, Salmonella, and E.
• They are also natural anti-clotting agents. The anti-clotting effect of onions closely correlates with their sulfur content.
Onion Selection and Storage:
• Choose onions that are clean and well shaped with crisp and dry outer skins. Avoid those that are sprouting or have signs of mold. When purchasing scallions, look for those that have green, fresh-looking tops that appear crisp, yet tender. The base should be whitish in color for two or three inches. Avoid those that have wilted or yellowed tops.
• Keep onions in relatively dry and cool temperatures and away from bright light. Choose and area in your house that has good air circulation.
• The stronger flavored yellow onions last longer in storage than the sweet onion varieties. Sweet onions should be used in no later than two months.
• All onions should be stored away from potatoes, as they will absorb their moisture and ethylene gas, causing them to spoil more readily.
• Peeled and chopped onions can be frozen, however this will cause them to lose some of their flavor.