The annoying tears that our beloved onions elicit when cutting them are really worth the great aroma and taste they add to our food for just a few bucks per kg. Onions come from the ‘bulb’ plant family which scallions, garlic, shallots and leeks belong to. They all provide several health benefits and have same nutrition values, especially because their compounds have sulfur.
Onions may be yellow, white or red and they may vary in flavor, i.e. from mild to strong and from sweet to savory. They have been used for both cooking and medical purposes for centuries. For a healthy diet, they are also a great asset, especially for type 2 diabetes, and it’s scientifically proven.
Onions and Type 2 Diabetes
Onions contain bulb extract that can reduce cholesterol and high blood glucose levels, as per a new research. If research is developed further, onions could be another treatment for diabetes.
Presented at the 97th annual meeting by Endocrine Society in San Diego, the experiment was done on rats which were already diabetic. When they were given onion bulb extract (Allium Cepa), along with metformin, their cholesterol and blood glucose levels were reduced tremendously.
All of those rats were prepared to have diabetes. These were split into three groups. All of them got metformin. Each rat was given a specific dose of onion extract, i.e. 200g, 400g, or 600g per kg according to body weight. It was given to find out whether onion extract could improve effects of metformin. The rats which got larger dose of onion extract lowered their cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
Though the research is in premature stage, it has given promising results. The effects must be same on humans. Researchers are looking to purify onion extract. Hence, only vital ingredients would be added.
Lead investigator, Anthony Ojjeh, added, “Onion is cheaply available and it can be added as a health supplement. It can be used to cure diabetes.”
Onions can be helpful to reduce inflammation, a major cause of diabetes and several metabolic issues. Onions have been known to reduce heart disease and have anti-diabetic effects.
In animal studies, they are known to reduce blood sugar. A human study has also shown to do the same. It is mostly because they are prebiotic foods, which are undigested fibers go through upper tract of digestion to large intestine where they promote the growth of healthy bacteria. Gut bacteria is helpful in controlling glucose quite surprisingly.
They are also known to have antimicrobial benefits and they are helpful to prevent infection which takes place with diabetes at higher rates. Onions contain antioxidants and have free radicals to reverse cellular damage.
Onions seem to be helpful in bone health and to even reduce risk for developing osteoporosis. Onions also have sulfur which helps prevent different types of cancer like colon, oral, ovarian, stomach, prostate and breast cancer.
All in all, onions are healthy, flavorful, and low calorie addition to different types of dishes. They are very cheap, found all the year round, and easy to store for longer.