Allium vegetables — including onions, garlic, leeks, and shallots — have a host of health benefits, including possible reductions in the rates of some cancers. Two of the most commonly used of these veggies, onions and garlic, are also the most pungent. (Sometimes they're too pungent.)
But despite some drawbacks, they are minor compared to the variety of health benefits that these veggies can bring.
Why Garlic Is So Good for You
This vegetable has been part of great, tasty dishes for hundreds of years. It’s also been used as a home remedy for colds. (Some recent studies suggested that people taking garlic supplements have a reduced rate of catching colds, compared to those who didn’t.)
Garlic can also help with more serious conditions. It’s been shown to reduce both blood pressure and total cholesterol. And for those battling diabetes, garlic supplements have been shown to reduce their fasting blood glucose levels.
Why Onions Are So Important to Your Health
Like apples, onions contain a flavonoid that’s a great antioxidant: quercetin. This flavonoid can contribute to reductions in atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Although quercetin is available in other foods, it’s absorbed much faster into the bloodstream if it’s consumed through onions. Onions also help against cardiovascular-related problems because they can inhibit, or reduce, platelet aggregation, which can lead to blood clots.
People often dislike onions because when you cut them, your eyes start to tear up. When you’re cutting through an onion, organosulfur compounds are created. These may contribute to your tears, but they also have anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties that are very beneficial. (And don’t peel too much of the onion. Most of the best stuff is in the outer layers.)
There are two key things to remember about onions that may encourage you to eat them more. Cooked onions can be sweet, without the lachrymose edge. (This is the sulfur-based compound that makes us tear up.) Also, if you put your onions in the fridge an hour before you cut them, the onions release less of the gas that irritates the eyes.
The Last Word
Onions and garlic might be unusually dramatic in the way they can take over a room with their odors and gases, But with the right approaches, they add zest to your meals and, more importantly, add truly healthy ingredients to your body’s daily food intake.
Give these valuable veggies a try!
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