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The Many Health Benefits and Uses of Onions

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About Onions

Onions with a scientific name of Allium Cepa comes from a family of Amaryllidaceae and Kingdom Plantae.  It is a vegetable that is being used around the world. It is mostly considered as annual plant. It can be consumed as fresh or cooked. Common onions have three colors; red, white and yellow.    

Onion is always a part of our daily cuisine that is why sometimes we may not notice that it has many benefits to our body. So the list below are some of the benefits that we may not be aware of when we eat onions.   

Health benefits of onions

  1. Onion is rich in Vitamin C so it can help treat common colds, cough and asthma.  And because of the stimulating effect on the mucosa and secretory glands of the nose and eyes when onion is cut or crushed it is also used as a treatment for respiratory problems.
  2. Onions can help treat anemia because it has high content of iron.
  3. It can help treat bacterial infections like Bacillus subtilis, E. coli and Salmonella.
  4. It can help reduced risk of developing cancer cells like cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx, esophageal cancer, colorectal cancer, laryngeal cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, renal cell cancer, etc.
  5. If you have sleeping problems, onions can help relieve sleep disorders.
  6. It can help treat many stomach disorders.
  7. It can help relieve arthritis, body pains and menstrual problems.
  8. It can help treat toothaches and helps prevent oral infection.
  9. It can help rejuvenate body tissues.
  10. It can help improve digestive problems.
  11. It can help remove bad cholesterol and protects good cholesterol. It also helps lower high blood pressure so it can reduce the risk of heart attack.
  12. Regular consumption of onions can also help protect the heart because it is rich in flavonoids - a substance known to provide protection against cardiovascular disease.
  13. If you have burns, it can help ease the pain by rubbing an onion on the affected part.

Uses of onions

  1. You can rub onion on your skin so that it can be used as an insect repellent and a first aid treatment for insect bites and other fungal infections.  
  2. You mix onion with garlic, cayenne pepper, water and soap if you want  to use it as a pesticide. 
  3. It can be used to clean your griller. You can also use it to remove splinter, rusty knives and to polish your metal.
  4. It can be used to get rid of the paint smell.  Cut an onion into half and leave it in your new painted room and it will absorb the odor of the paint.
  5. Onions skin can be used as a dye. You just have to gather many onions skin, cover and simmer it in a pan for 30 minutes.  After that you will have a yellow color dye.       

Vitamins and Minerals That Can Be Found in Onions

  1. Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide energy required for our daily activities.
  2. Dietary Fiber. It helps prevent and relieve constipation.
  3. Protein. Protein is a nutrient needed by the human body for growth and maintenance.
  4. Thiamine. Thiamine or Vitamin B1 works with other B vitamins that is needed to maintain the health of the nerves and the heart.
  5. Riboflavin. Riboflavin or Vitamin B2 works with other B vitamins and is needed for body growth and red blood cell production.
  6. Niacin. Niacin or Vitamin B3 is a water soluble vitamin that can help improve cholesterol levels and lowers cardiovascular risks.
  7. Pantothenic Acid. Pantothenic Acid or Vitamin B5 is a water soluble vitamin that helps reduce stress and is necessary to maintain good health.
  8. Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is a water soluble vitamin that helps convert food into energy.
  9. Folate (Vitamin B9). Folate is a water soluble B vitamin that helps cell repair and helps develop red blood cells.
  10. Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that helps strengthen our immune system.
  11. Calcium. Calcium helps strengthen bones and teeth.
  12. Iron. Iron is an essential nutrient that helps transport oxygen throughout the body.
  13. Magnesium. Magnesium is an important mineral that helps keep our heart healthy.
  14. Manganese. Manganese helps our bone to become healthy.
  15. Phosphorus. Phosphorus is a mineral that makes our bones and teeth stronger.
  16. Potassium. Potassium is a mineral that helps our heart, kidney and other organs to work normally.
  17. Zinc. Zinc helps improve our immune system, digestion and help heals wounds.
  18. Fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that helps prevent tooth decay.


Health Benefits of Onions

Popular Dishes in the Philippines

Uses Onion as a Main Ingredient or One of the Main Ingredients

Almost all our dishes have onions as one of the ingredient.  Here are some dishes that use Onion as a Main Ingredient or One of the Main Ingredients:

Onion Rings – I first tasted Onion Rings in one of the food chains here in the Philippines.  I thought I was not going to like it but it’s good that I have tried it.  The taste is good.  It can be a substitute or I can say a better substitute for French Fries because of the health benefits you can get in eating onions.  Ingredients are: onions, flour, salt, pepper, baking powder, egg, milk, bread crumbs and cooking oil.

Onion Soup – Ingredients are: onions, water, beef cubes, beef cubes, flour, sugar, butter, water, salt, sliced bread, grated, cheese and butter

Sisig – One of the popular dishes in the Philippines that originated from Pampanga.  Sisig is famous because it is always being used as pulutan or as an appetizer by people who are drinking alcoholic drinks.  Ingredients are pork’s ear/pork cheeks or combination, pork belly, pork liver, soy sauce, chili, bay leaves, calamansi, onions, ginger, garlic, eggs, salt and freshly ground black pepper

Beef Steak – One of my favorite dishes especially when the one who cooked it is my brother-in-law.   It really tasted good and I cannot imagine Beef Steak without onions because in Beef Steak it does not only add aroma and taste to the dish but it also serves as a decoration.  Ingredients are beef, soy sauce, calamansi, white onions, ground black pepper, garlic, cooking oil and water. 

Mango, Onion, Tomato Salad You will really love this dish, I assure you, you will eat a lot when you combine it with grilled or fried fish and boiled or grilled eggplant.  Ingredients are mango, onions, tomato and bagoong (shrimp paste). 

Planting Onions

Planting and growing onion is not hard.  Onion is a cold-season crop. You can grow onions from transplants, sets or seeds. Onions like cool weather in the early part of their growth.  I remember when I forgot to cook an onion that is in our refrigerator for a month, I notice that there are leaves coming out of the bulb.  According to UN Food and Agriculture Organization the Top Ten Onions (dry) Producers as of 2012 per metric tons are:

China 20,507,759
India 13,372,100
United States 3,320,870
Egypt 2,208,080
Iran 1,922,970
Turkey 1,900,000
Pakistan 1,701,100
Brazil 1,556,000
Russia 1,536,300
Republic of Korea 1,411,650
World Total 74,250,809

In the Philippines, Bongabon Nueva Ecija was called the Onion Capital of the Philippines & Onion Basket of Asia and for 50 years, one cooperative has stood fast to its mission of making the Philippines self-sufficient in onions. The National Onion Growers Cooperative Marketing Association (NOGROCOMA) is one of the longest-lived cooperatives in the country, renowned even abroad. 


I hope you find this article helpful about the benefits and uses of onions.  If you want to read more about the health benefits of other fruits and vegetables, you may want to check some of my articles below:         

The Many Health Benefits and Uses of Oregano

Health Benefits and Other Uses of Calamansi

15 Health Benefits of Ginger



Aug 6, 2014 5:54am
Should onions be eaten raw or cooked?
Aug 6, 2014 6:54pm
Hi Weelim! Onions can be eaten raw and cooked. Thanks for visiting.
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