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10 Benefits of Onion That Will Surely Surprise You

10 Benefits of Onion That Will Surely Surprise You

“I cannot imagine a world without onions.”- Julia Child

The onion may not be everyone’s favorite vegetable, but it sure is beneficial. The next time you peel onions and start crying, just think of all the great health benefits you are getting. They contain lots of fiber and antioxidants. They are also rich in vitamins B and C, and are full of sulphur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, calcium, and manganese. Each 100 grams of onion contains about 45 calories.

Onions
    A Word About Tears

    Tears keep the eyes in great condition, by acting as a lubricant that also helps to kill bacteria and toxins. Without tears, our eyes would just not function at all! If cutting onions up really makes you cry buckets, you could try turning on the overhead ventilator on your cooker, if your work surface is nearby. This can redirect the tear jerking enzyme (allyl sulphate) away from your tear ducts.

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    Another trick is to freeze the onions for about 15 minutes before you start chopping or dicing them. The only problem here is that they will be harder to cut.

    Here are 10 surprising benefits of onions:

    1. Helps reduce pain after a bee sting

    When you are stung by a bee, it can be a painful and swelling experience. Applying ice and taking a painkiller can be useful. But, here’s a tip you may not have tried: Apply a freshly cut onion to the affected area to reduce pain, according to Dr. Eric Block of the State University of New York at Albany.

    2. Lowers bad cholesterol

    Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong show that onions (especially the red ones) can help reduce the levels of bad cholesterol. Studies show that consuming half a raw onion daily can help to raise the good HDL cholesterol by 30%. Chives, garlic, and shallots are also effective. They all come from the Allium family.

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    3. Increases your supply of glutathione

    Glutathione is one of the most important antioxidants. Our bodies produce even more of it by eating lots of onions and also other vegetables, such as cauliflower and broccoli. This antioxidant can ward off cancer, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

    4. Stops colds in their tracks

    What do the Roman Emperor Nero and President George Washington got in common?  Both men were absolutely convinced that the best way to stop a cold and developing sore throat was to eat an onion!  Vitamin C is the responsible culprit.

    5. May help keep blood sugar under control

    Onions contain allyl propyl disulphide (oil of onion). This oil acts in a way similar to how insulin helps balance blood sugar levels. Limited research shows that it helps to reduce blood glucose.

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    6. Removes dark skin spots (melasma) from skin

    Mixing onion juice (obtained by chopping and then squeezing) with an equal amount of apple cider vinegar can remove dark spots on the skin, when applied twice a day. Melasma or hyperpigmentation is often caused by sun, contraceptives, or pregnancy. It is sometimes referred to as a ‘pregnancy mask.’ Both onions and the cider vinegar help to balance the pH of the skin.

    7. Onions are rich in quercetin

    It is now established in medical circles that the quercetin flavonoid is essential in helping to ward off, or cure, the following troublesome health conditions:

    • Blood clots
    • Bronchitis
    • Hay fever
    • Diabetes
    • Asthma

    8. Detoxifying with onions

    One of the most worrying aspects of our environment is how much we are exposed to some nasty metals (lead, cadmium, and mercury). These metals do a lot of harm in our bodies. We need to get rid of these by detoxifying. The best way of doing this is to find foods that have methionine and cystine, which are sulphur containing amino acids. These act as a magnet for those harmful metals, and help us excrete these. Guess what? Onions have plenty of these amino acids so they are really an excellent way of detoxifying.

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    9. Onions may help prevent cancer

    One of the most common cancers among men affects the prostate gland. Studies published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute show that regular consumption of the allium family type of vegetable (shallots, garlic, and onions) may help to reduce the incidence of prostate cancer. Similar studies show that stomach and breast cancer rates may also be cut by eating onions.

    10. Helps to maintain brain health

    Who isn’t worried about memory loss and brain acuity? Studies show that the consumption of onions can help when the brain is damaged by a stroke or a clot. It seems to play an important role in our mental health.

    The next time you take a smelly onion in your hand, think about all the health benefits. Maybe you will cry less when you start to slice, chop and dice it! 

    Featured photo credit: Walmart Corporate via flickr.com

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    Robert Locke

    Freelance writer

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    12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

    12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

    Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

    But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

    I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

    Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

    1. Nuts

    The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

    Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

    Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

    Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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    2. Blueberries

    Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

    When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

    3. Tomatoes

    Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

    4. Broccoli

    While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

    Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

    Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

    5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

    Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

    The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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    Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

    6. Soy

    Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

    Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

    Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

    7. Dark chocolate

    When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

    Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

    15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

    8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

    Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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    B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

    Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

    Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

    To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

    9. Foods Rich in Zinc

    Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

    Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

    Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

    10. Gingko biloba

    This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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    It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

    However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

    11. Green and black tea

    Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

    Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

    Find out more about green tea here:

    11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

    12. Sage and Rosemary

    Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

    Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

    When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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