Cutting an onion will leave you teary and eating it will give you offensive breath – apart from these two drawbacks, onions are a treasure house of health and beauty benefits.
Onions have anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antioxidant, and anticarcinogenic qualities. These are also rich in vitamins A, B6, B-complex and C, as well as iron, folate and potassium. They are excellent sources of sulfuric compounds, flavonoids and phytochemicals.
Probably one of the oldest cultivated herbs, onions have a special place in the culinary world because they go well with almost all dishes.
You can include onions in your salad, soup, pizza toppings, curries, stir-fries, casseroles and much more. Onion pickles are also popular.
Here are the top 10 beauty and health benefits of raw onions.
1. Promotes Hair Growth
Onion juice is effective in preventing hair loss and promoting hair growth. The sulfur in onions helps promote blood circulation to the scalp and boosts production of collagen necessary for new hair growth.
A 2002 study published in the Journal of Dermatology found that people suffering from alopecia areata saw significant hair regrowth after applying onion juice to their scalp twice daily for two months.
- Extract the juice of 1 onion.
- Mix it with 1 teaspoon of honey and 2 or 3 drops of lavender essential oil.
- Massage it into your scalp.
- Cover your hair with a shower cap and leave it on overnight or at least for 1 hour.
- Rinse your hair with water, then shampoo as usual.
- Repeat this treatment 2 or 3 times a week until you get the desired result.
2. Regulates Blood Sugar
Onions are good for people who have diabetes. The sulfur compound called allyl propyl disulfide in onions helps increase insulin production and lower blood glucose levels in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics. Furthermore, onion juice contains trace amounts of chromium, which helps improve the body’s glucose tolerance level.
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food confirmed the antidiabetic effect of onions in diabetic rats. Onion extracts were found to be effective for lowering plasma glucose concentrations and body weight.
Diabetic people should include red onions regularly in their diet.
3. Prevents Cancer
Onions are found to have beneficial and preventive effects on various cancers, such as lung, ovarian, stomach, bladder, breast, colorectal, prostate, oral, liver and brain cancer. The phenolic and flavonoid content of onions with antioxidant activities help fight cancer cells.
A 2006 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows a positive connection between the frequency of use of allium vegetables (onion and garlic) and reduced risk of several common cancers.
If you are at a higher risk of cancer, eat at least 1 onion daily.
4. Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease
Regular onion intake can reduce your risk of conditions like arterial hardening, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. The quercetin found in onions has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are good for your heart health.
A 2007 study published in the American Society for Nutrition shows that quercetin helps reduce blood pressure in hypertensive subjects. Onions even help prevent cholesterol accumulation that contributes to clogging and hardening of the arteries.
Start eating onions to boost your heart health.
5. Builds Strong Immunity
Due to their polyphenol content, onions can help boost your immunity by protecting your body against free radicals. Plus, onions contain a trace mineral selenium that helps improve immunity by initiating immune response and also preventing excessive immune response.
Furthermore, consuming onions may help reduce allergic reactions in your body by stopping the production of histamine. Its antimicrobial properties also help prevent infections.
Decreased immune function during radiation treatment for cancer is common, but with intake of quercetin-rich foods, you can give a boost to your immunity.
A 2007 study published in Nutrition Research and Practice found that quercetin increased immune function, relieved inflammation and enhanced nutritional status in irradiated mice.
6. Increases Bone Density
Onions help slow the progression of bone loss, making them a very effective natural solution for aging women who are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis.
The peptide called GPCS in onions has the bone-helping potential. Furthermore, the high sulfur content provides direct benefits to connective tissue.
A 2009 study published in Menopause found that daily intake of onions improved bone density in women who were going through or finished menopause as compared to those who never ate onions. Also, researchers found that it helped lower the risk of hip fractures in women by 20 percent.
7. Treats Asthma
Onions can also improve symptoms of asthma and other breathing problems. According to a 2013 study published in the American Journal of Physiology, quercetin was found to help relax the airway muscles and relieve asthma symptoms.
Furthermore, their sulfur content works as an effective anti-inflammatory agent. This helps provide relief from asthma symptoms.
However, if you are allergic to asparagus, you are likely to be allergic to onion as well, in which case you should not take it.
8. Supports Oral Health
Though raw onions may temporarily cause your breath to stink, they can surely improve your oral health. Raw onions have powerful antibacterial properties that can help reduce the level of harmful bacteria in your mouth that can cause cavities and gum disease.
Onions can also be used as an effective home remedy for strengthening teeth and getting relief from gum pain.
Simply chew a piece of raw onion everyday for 2 to 3 minutes to get rid of bacteria in your mouth.
9. Makes Skin Healthy
Raw onion juice can help make your skin healthy and glowing. It can reduce dark spots and pigmentation of your skin as well as treat acne.
Being rich in quercetin, one of the most powerful antioxidants, onions can keep your skin wrinkle-free. Furthermore, the vitamins and sulfur in them protect the skin from harmful free radicals, while keeping it supple and smooth.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of onion juice in ½ tablespoon of yogurt.
- Apply this paste on your skin and neck area.
- Wait 10 minutes, then rinse it off with lukewater.
- Use this face mask once or twice a week.
10. Kills Head Lice
You can even use raw onion juice to treat head lice. Its high sulfur content helps kill head lice as well as the nits. A 2014 study published in the Journal of International Academic Research for Multidisciplinary found onion juice to be effective in killing head lice.
- Extract the juice of 2 to 3 onions.
- Apply it on your scalp, massaging the roots thoroughly.
- Cover your hair with a shower cap for 2 to 3 hours.
- Shampoo your hair and rinse with lukewarm water.
- Let your hair air dry, then comb your hair with a nit comb to remove the dead lice and nits.
- Repeat daily for 3 days, then do it once a week for a few monthsto prevent a recurrence.