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An onion a day?

chivesSound a bit far-fetched? It's actually not such a bad idea healthwise. Onions are highly recommended for people trying to prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer and infections. Like most vegetables, sweet, yellow onions are fat- and cholesterol-free, and contain very little sodium.

The 4,000-Year-Old Healer
For over 4,000 years onions have been used for medical purposes. Egyptians numbered over 8000 onion-alleviated ailments. The esteemed Greek physician Hippocrates prescribed onions as a diuretic, wound healer and pneumonia fighter. During World War II, Russian soldiers applied onions to battle wounds as an antiseptic. And throughout the ages there have been countless folk remedies that have ascribed their curative powers to onions, such as putting a sliced onion under your pillow to fight off insomnia.

The Modern Day Preventative

Sweet onions are a member of the 500-plus allium family. While garlic, another allium, has been highly touted as a cancer preventative, most people consume far greater quantities of onions. As Americans search for low-fat, low-salt, but tasty meals, they're eating more onions - almost 18 pounds per person, which is 50% more than a decade ago.


"Egyptians numbered over 8,000 onion-alleviated ailments."

Therefore, there is greater hope that the onion will be a key in producing long-term health benefits. In addition to tasting great, onions contain 25 active compounds that appear to inhibit the growth of cancerous cells, help combat heart disease, inhibit strokes, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and stimulate the immune system. Alliums are also antibacterial and antifungal, so they can help ward off colds and relieve stomach upset and other gastrointestinal disorders.

What Makes Them So Good for You?

Of all the healthy benefits of onions, two elements stand out: sulfur (a compound) and quercetin (a flavonoid). They each have been shown to help neutralize the free radicals in the body, and protect the membranes of the body's cells from damage. Quercetin, an antioxidant, is also found in red wine and tea, but in much lower quantities. Interestingly, white onions contain very little quercetin, so it's better to stick with the yellow and red varieties. Most health professionals recommend eating raw onions for maximum benefit, but cooking makes them more versatile and doesn't significantly reduce their potency. In fact, unlike sulfur compounds, quercetin can withstand the heat of cooking. One researcher, Dr. Leonard Pike, director of the Vegetable Improvement Center at Texas A&M University, is working on producing onions with even higher levels of quercetin.

Onions And Your Heart

As with garlic, onions help prevent thrombosis and reduce hypertension, according to the American H eart Association. The juice of one yellow or white onion a day can raise HDL cholesterol (the good stuff) by 30% over time, according to Dr. Victor Gurewich, director of the Tufts University Vascular Laboratory at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Boston. Red onions don't provide the same effect.

Sweet Onions - The Tasty Way to Better Health

What tastier way to eat healthier than with sweet onions. Because they are milder and easier to digest, you can consume "sweets" in abundance, thus obtaining all the many health benefits that these delicious alliums offer. Best of all, you won't shed any tears in the process.

Serving Size: 1 medium onion (148g)

Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 60
Calories from Fat: 0

% of Daily Value
Total Fat: 0g 0%
Saturated Fat: 0g 0%
Cholesterol: 0mg 0%
Sodium: 5mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate:14g 5%
Dietary Fiber: 3g 12%
Sugars 9g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A: 0%
Vitamin C: 20%
Calcium: 4%
Iron: 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Source: PMA Labeling Facts

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