OnionThe onion belongs just as garlic, chives, and leeks to the Allium family. A feature of this family of plants is that they contain high levels of organosulfur compounds which are responsible for the strong taste, smell, and many of the health benefits of the Allium vegetables. Onions are in many ways even healthier than garlic, which is known for its medicinal properties.

Most of the healthy properties of the onion are located it the outer layers. Thus, to obtain the most benefits of the healthy properties from the onion, try to only peel off the outer papery layers of the onion.

ShallotsEspecially the outer layers of the red onion are full of the substance quercetin. Quercetin is sold a dietary supplement, because of its anti-inflammatory properties. The synthetic form of quercetin that these pills mostly contain, does not protect you against cancer like the natural variant, but they actually can cause cancer according to some research. This just shows once again that the best things you can get comes out of nature and not out of a factory.

To get most of the benefits of the onion, they are best eaten raw. When used for cooking, it is best to chop up the onions, or other Allium vegetables, and leave for 10 minutes before you start cooking them. When onions or garlic are chopped or crushed, the cell walls get broken down. This releases an enzyme called alliinase which converts alliin into allicin, the compound with health benefits. This reaction takes around 10 minutes to take place and because the enzyme is deactivated by heat, it is best to wait for 10 minutes before cooking to let the reaction take place.

Yellow onionsBesides the red onion there are several different types of onions. You have for example shallots that are a clustering variant of the onion and they have a milder, sweeter taste. These types of onions are widely used in France and Southeast Asia.

Spring onions are harvested when they are not fully matured. They are moist and you keep them in the refrigerator. A yellow onion is a type of spring onion grown on a low sulphur containing soil. Due to this soil this onion contains less than half of the sulphur compounds and thus tastes milder and has less healthy properties.

The ordinary summer onions are harvested in autumn when they are fully mature. These are not so moist as the spring onion and can be stored for months in a cool environment.

Some health benefits of the onion summed up:

  • Onions can decrease the total fat content of your blood, with regular use.
  • Onions can decrease your blood pressure when consumed regularly.
  • Onions reduce inflammation.
  • Onions are good for oral hygiene, they protect the teeth and gums.
  • Onions decrease the risk of cancer with regular use significantly.
  • Onions can inhibit the growth of tumours.
  • Onions decrease the complications associated with diabetes when consumed regularly.
  • Onions support the cardiovascular system, they prevent arteriosclerosis and hypertension.
  • Onions can help with stomach ulcers.
  • Onions reduce stress because they lower the level of the stress hormone cortisol.
  • Onions act as a natural anti-histamine, it inhibits the allergic reaction.
  • Onions enhance the action of vitamin C.
  • Onions can bring relief from muscular fibromyalgia with regular use.
  • Onions are a good source of vitamin C, B1, B6 and biotin (B8).
  • Onions are a good source of manganese, copper and potassium.
  • Onions have anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
  • Onions are an excellent source of prebiotic fiber and promote the growth of Bifidobacteria.

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