Friday, August 7, 2015

Onion as a superfood – cancer-fighter, heart protector

Onions have been used for ages to add flavor, texture and color to endless dishes and meals. Chopped, sliced, diced or minced, they can take a simple dish and make it shine. They come in all kinds of varieties, each with its unique taste and scent. There is hardly anyone who doesn’t enjoy the heavenly scent of onions sautéing! But there is so much more to the onion than just taste and scent: it is packed with nutritional benefits that run the gamut from simple healing properties all the way to powerful cancer and heart disease fighter.

One cannot truly appreciate the power of the mighty onion without a quick peek into the history behind this simple vegetable. Interesting folklore about the onion includes:

Alexander the Great made his troops eat onions because he thought it improved their vitality.
The Romans consumed onions because they thought the onion gave them courage and strength.
Captain James Cook is rumored to have refused to sail a voyage until each of his crew members at 20 pounds of onions (to prevent scurvy)!

In more modern times, the Russians used onions as an antiseptic treatment for battle wounds.
Clearly onions have been considered powerful for centuries, and while their powers were quite exaggerated in ancient times, modern science is proving that onions have some significantly powerful health-boosting properties.

Studies show that onions can help prevent and manage cancer

Onions have been researched extensively for their health properties, and they have been shown to have powerful anti-cancer benefits.

A 2006 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition set out to find out what, if any, benefits onions and garlic (allium vegetables) had in regard to human cancer. They concluded that there is “an inverse association between the frequency of use of allium vegetables and the risk of several common cancers. Allium vegetables are a favorable correlate of cancer risk in Europe.”

Additionally, a study of French women published in the European Journal of Epidemiology showed that the higher the amount of onions and garlic consumed, the lower the risk of breast cancer.

Furthermore, studies show that onions are effective in the prevention stomach cancer .

The mighty onion can help keep your heart healthy

The news that red wine plays a role in heart protection has been celebrated by wine enthusiasts, and rightly so; however, studies show that onions beat out red wine by a huge margin when it comes to cardiovascular health. It has been proven to lower cholesterol, strengthen blood vessels and lower blood pressure.
A recent meta-analysis reviewing dietary habits of more than 100,000 individuals revealed that consumption of onions can reduce the risk of heart disease by 20 percent.

Additionally, according to Dr. Victor Gurewich, director of the Tufts University Vascular Laboratory at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Boston, eating just half a medium sized onion per day can increase HDL cholesterol (the kind that indicates good heart health) a minimum of 30 percent in three out of four heart patients.

No matter how you slice or dice them, onions have been proven – repeatedly – to dramatically improve your health, while decreasing your risk of cancer and heart disease.

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