Onions For Your Health
By: Christine Szalay-Kudra
Onions have been part of the human diet for thousands of years. They have been added to salads, soups, dips, and stir-fries. They have been roasted, fried, chopped, and dehydrated. With all the different kinds of onions, there is something for everyone from mild to strong. These popular members of the lily family are the second most important crop after tomatoes.
Onions have also enjoyed a long reputation as a medicine. They are antimicrobial and antibacterial, eliminating such bacteria like E. coli, Bacillus subtilis and Salmonella. They are used to treat coughs, angina, bacterial infections, and respiratory issues in Chinese medicine. In Early America, settlers used them to treat coughs, colds, and asthma. They even used them to repel bugs.
The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that onions can treat a poor appetite and can prevent atherosclerosis. They recommend that onion extract can help relieve symptoms of bronchitis, colds, coughs, and asthma. They even help prevent tumors of the colon.
Onions contain sulfides that are very similar to those found in its cousin, the garlic. These sulfides may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Studies done in India have shown that people who ate lots of onions and garlic had lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure than those who did not eat these foods. They are a natural anticoagulant and can help prevent blood clots.
Some types of cancer can be prevented by adding them to your diet. Onion sulfides help protect you from developing tumors. People who eat a lot of strong verities develop only half as much stomach cancer as those who do not eat them. Milder ones do not contain as many sulfides as the stronger varieties, so while they do offer some protection, it is not as effective as what you get from strong varieties. They do not interact with any medications except anticoagulants. They may make them more effective, so if you eat lots of them and need blood thinners, speak to your doctor about adjusting your dose.
With so many health benefits, why don't more people eat them? Even people who do not like the taste of them may like them caramelized. Add them to soups, casseroles, and gravies. Caramelizing makes them more palatable to many people. There are lots of recipes that use them in one form or another. You can always add them to more recipes if you wish. they are very versatile... you should be able to find a recipe to please almost anyone.
If someone does not care for their texture, try chopping them very finely before cooking. French onion soup is a surefire hit even with most people who do not like them. Serve it up in beautiful French onion soup crock bowls and they will be sitting at the table waiting for their own bowl. That layer of melted cheese is hard for anyone to resist!
They are a very beneficial part of your diet. Add more to your menu if you do not already eat them regularly. They add more flavor to roasts, sauces, and soups as well as many other recipes. Keep some caramelized onions on hand to add whenever you need more flavor in a recipe.
A wonderful onion soup recipe will be satisfying for your entire family. The kids will love the bubby cheese on top. Dipping their spoon through the melted top into the rich beefy broth will bring smiles of delight to their faces. This dish is a true winner.