Friday, December 2, 2011

Ogres are like onions!

After a discussion yesterday regarding the fact that some things (including Shrek) are layered and much more complicated and deep than their surface may at first appear, I have been inspired to write about onions this week.  Recently, I wrote about leeks which are in the same family (the alliums) and have the some of the same benefits, although to a lesser rate because leeks are less strong.  The stronger the allium in taste and smell, the stronger the benefits.

Yes, as Donkey in the first Shrek movie states, onions are smelly and they often make us cry.  These are good things in that the smell and the chemicals that make your eyes water are sulfides - compounds believed to lower blood lipids and blood pressure.  You can chill the onion for 30 min. before you cut it to decrease the smell and the eye watering.

Onions are great cancer fighters.  The risk of stomach and esophageal cancers are lowered with onion consumption.  Have you heard of the Vidalia onion?  The rule is that one can only be called a Vidalia only if grown in Vidalia Georgia.  These sweeter and often eaten like an apple onions are consumed in this area at greater quantities than in the normal population.  The result?  Vidalia, GA has a 50% lower stomach cancer mortality rate than the rest of the nation - likely due to those stinky, layered veggies!

A more surprising benefit to onions is that it seems to help build stronger bones.  Further study is needed to see how many onions would create this benefit, but eat up in the meantime!  Onions also help with heart health - decreasing mortality from heart disease by 20%!

Onions contain quercetin.  This chemical is in the flavonoid family and these are being researched more and more for their great health benefits in many important areas - heart health, cancer-fighting properties, immune function and more.  It is likely that it is because quercetin and flavonoids in general have anti-inflammatory affects.  Reducing inflammation also will help with asthma, allergies and chronic pain.

I often post a favorite recipe, but onions are a part of so many tasty dishes.  They are seasonal now as they are easily stored and can handle cold.  Make onions a part of as many meals as you can throughout the day - cooked or raw.

How will you eat your onions this week?

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