Onion: Health Benefits and Nutritional Values

Nature has varies foods that promotes good health. The rich nutrient content of vital minerals and vitamins are present in every natural food including vegetables and fruits. Each vegetable has its unique and distinct feature along with all essential nutrient content. Onions are one of the vegetable that is widely consumed by majority of people in the world. The edible bulb structured portion of the onion plant is termed as onion. The stalk and the leaves of the onion plant are edible too. Onions are used as flavoring agent and also as main ingredient in certain spicy dishes in many arts of the world with regional variation in the preparation. The origin of onion is traced back to the period of Bronze Age. Many historical evidences show that onions were used in Egypt more than 5000 years ago. They considered onion having super natural powers and worshiped onions and in the tomb of pharaohs onions were also placed with special preference. It was propagated to many parts of the world including Europe and Asian countries by voyagers and travelers. Ancient Greeks used onions as preventive measures against infections and was widely used as home remedy. Onions are scientifically classified in the family of Amaryllidaceae in the genus Allium Cep.

Onions are used in several cuisines around the world in different forms. Onions are pickled and in brine in many parts of the Europe. They are normally cooked along with other spices, vegetables, meat, poultry and sea food. They are used in boiled, steamed, baked and in fried forms. The raw sliced onions are used in different types of salads. Before the maturity of the onion bulbs the stem and the leaves of the onions plant is also used in several cuisines. Onions can be sliced into different shapes and canned and frozen oinions are also available in the markets that are ready for instant use.

In addition to the culinary uses it also possesses various medicinal properties and health benefits as it is enriched with various vital nutrients. The nutrient data base o USDA provides the nutritional value of onion. According to USDA onion contains 40 kilo calories per 100 gm. It has high water content of 89.11g. Apart from form these it as dietary fiber, sugars and protein and low fat content. The vitamin B complex compounds including thiamine or vitamin B1, riboflavin or vitamin B2, niacin or vitamin B3, pantothenic acid or vitamin B5, folate or vitamin B9. It also contains vitamin C. The mineral content includes calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, zinc and fluoride.

One of the major drawbacks of onions is its strong odor and pungent taste that are not suitable for people who are having allergic problems. It also causes eye irritation after cut open. Though it has minor draw backs it has several other health benefits and often used as an effective home remedy against several ailments. Onions are natural antibiotics having antibacterial and antiviral functions and prevent many infections, flu, cough and cold. The rich dietary fiber cleanses the intestine and promotes intestinal health. It improves the digestion. It promotes digestive fluids that are essential for proper digestion.  The sulphur content acts as effective anti bacterial element. The low fat reduces the cholesterol and promotes cardio vascular health. The low fat content and iron improves the blood circulation and increase in the red blood cells. It also burns the unwanted fat deposit and maintains the metabolic process. The calcium content increases the bone health and prevents bone related diseases including osteoporosis. The onions improve the pancreatic function and produce and maintain the insulin level and there by controls the diabetes. All the phytonutrients prevents cancers of different type including colon cancer. It also increases the immune system and strengthens the stamina of the body.

The intake of onions in any form promotes good health and stamina.