In this part of the world, onions are popular for cooking. As a matter of fact, it is almost impossible to prepare a dish without making use of one.
This is why it has become a household name and can be seen in almost every kitchen.
Nevertheless, the usefulness of onion goes beyond the cooking pot. Recent studies have shown that the "garlic pink sister" is an excellent source of vitamin C, sulphuric compounds, flavonoids, and phytochemicals.
And according to scientists, phytochemicals are occurring compounds that react with the human body to trigger healthy reactions. While flavonoids have been shown to help reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.
However, in other to have an in-depth understanding of the usefulness of onions, we shall take a glimpse into the history of the wonderful plant.
History of onions
Onions probably originated in central Asia, in modern-day Iran and Pakistan. And may have been among the earliest cultivated crops.
And as early as the sixth century B.C., a medical treatise, the Charaka Sanhita, celebrates the onion as medicine, a diuretic, good for digestion, the heart, the eyes and the joints.
It is also important to note that in Egypt, onions were planted as far back as 3500 B.C. They were considered to be objects of worship and symbolized eternity because of the circle-within-a-circle structure.
Paintings of onions appear on the inner walls of pyramids, and other tombs. They were even buried with mummies because, for some, it was believed that their strong scent and/or magical powers would prompt the dead to breathe again.
Such is is the uniqueness of onions that they were mentioned in the Bible. In Numbers 11:5, the children of Israel lament the meager desert diet enforced by the Exodus:
"We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic."
Here are five unbelievable health benefits of onions
1. It treats urinary disorders
This is why some medical practitioners would advice those suffering from burning sensation during urination to drink water boiled with 6 to 7 gm of onion, as it is known to relieve the symptoms.
2. It fights cancer
Results from research suggest that onion extract is rich in a variety of sulfides, which are known to provide some protection against tumor growth.
And according to recent studies, regular consumption of onions helps to reduce the risk of several cancers such as colorectal cancer, oral cancer, laryngeal cancer, stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, and ovarian cancer.
It is suggested to consume one onion serving per day.
3. Onions reduce blood sugar levels
High blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) occur when your blood sugar (also called glucose) is higher than your body needs to function normally. And this condition is known to cause both immediate and long-term problems.
However, the regular consumption of onions has been shown to lower the blood sugar levels, as it contains allyl propyl disulfide that helps to reduce the glucose levels by increasing the amount of insulin.
4. It boosts the immune system
According to Anne Mauney, a dietitian based in Washington, D.C., the polyphenols in onions act as antioxidants, protecting the body against free radicals.
The quercetin in onions has also been shown to reduces allergic reactions by stopping the body from producing histamines, which are what make you sneeze, cry and itch if you're having an allergic reaction.
5. It promotes digestion
The fiber in onions promotes good digestion and helps keep you regular.
In addition, onions contain a special type of soluble fiber called oligofructose, which promotes good bacteria growth in your intestines.