Onions have great nutritional value and are a perfect addition to so many of your favorite lunch, dinner, salads, and side dish recipes. Onions can be stored in a cool dark area of the kitchen for several weeks, though they should not be stored with potatoes.
If you like vegetable gardening, then onions is a great addition as they are easy to grow.
You can plant onions as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring, which for most areas it can be late March or April (make sure the temperatures are not dropping below 20 degrees F).
Plant the onions sets 1 inch deep, with about 4 to 5 inches between each plant, depending on the size of the onion when mature, and in rows 12 to 18 inches apart.
Meet the Allium Family
The Allium family of vegetables includes the onions, scallions (green onions), chives, leeks, shallots, and garlic. The onion along with its cousin the garlic are grown and used both for medicinal properties and for cooking.
The Rainbow of Onions
There are many types and colors of onions. There are the smaller green onions, yellow onions, purple onions, red onions, white onions.
Depending on the color of the onion, they can have a sweet flavor or can have a spicy, pungent, and sharp flavor.
The Health Benefits
Onions are so ubiquitous in cooking that it is hard to remember that they also have medicinal properties. The health benefits of onions include:
- High in fiber, help with digestion and do not spike blood glucose
- They have about 15 grams of plant carbohydrates per onion and no raw sugar.
- Onions have no fat
- Onions contain no cholesterol
- Their mineral content includes iron, folate, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium
- Onions are high in antioxidants, including sulfur and quercetin
- Help to improve emotional wellbeing, and are healthy for your hair and skin
- Reduce colon cancer risk
- Onions can help fight obesity
- Any onion because of its nutritional content can reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, which includes heart disease, and diabetes
Now let us examine in more detail some of the onions health benefits.
The Onion – Your Allie Against Cancer
It is the sulfur compounds of onions help reduce the risk of several different cancers. They inhibit cancer through several different methods. They can prevent oxygen free radical formation by being a potent antioxidant.
Animal and human studies have shown that all the Allium family of vegetables inhibit tumor growth and reduce the risk of stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, and prostate cancer.
The sulfur compounds can help block the growth of tumors and can prevent normal cells from mutating into cancer cells.
Onions are rich in the antioxidant vitamin-C, which is important for cellular health as it can help stop the cascade of oxygen free radicals that are a by-product of cellular metabolism. Oxygen free radicals can damage or compromise the cell wall structure if they are not, neutralized by an antioxidant.
Your skin, bones, and ligaments, all rely on the vitamin-C, which helps to make collagen and maintain its health. Use vitamin-C rich onions in your salads or other dishes for the best in connective tissue health.
Folate for Mood and Sleep
Onions have a beneficial effect on your mood and sleep, as onions are rich in folate. This B-vitamin has shown to reduce the risk of depression by decreasing homocysteine levels in the body. High levels homocysteine has shown to conflict with the production of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, all of which are essential for emotional wellbeing.
Onions have the most nutrition in them, when freshly harvested, and you cannot really say that about the onions you purchase at the market.
This means it is best to start your own organic garden, incorporating a row of onions you can pick all season long.
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