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The diverse world of onions: benefits of its many colours

Sep 15, 2020 08:27 IST

Onions add a dash of flavour to any dish! While it is often recommended you eat them raw, even cooked onions offer a plethora of benefits. The compounds in onions are known to provide antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial benefits. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, onions have the ability to protect your body from certain kinds of cancer cells. They're rich in vitamin C and phytochemicals essential to strengthen the immune system. They also stimulate the production of good cholesterol (or HDL) that is needed for optimal health. From curries, soups, chutneys to rice and noodles, you can add onions to just about any savoury dish! Here's a low down of the different variety of onions and what they offer: Red onions contain quercetin, a flavanoid with very strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Consuming them may keep chronic diseases away. Red onions are considered to prevent the release of histamine, serving as an antihistamine. Histamine may lead to allergic reactions like a runny nose. Some even consider red onions to be the healthiest of the lot! Green onions are practically a staple in Asian cuisine and this variety needs little to no cooking time, making them perfect for eating raw. A single stock of green onion contains 24 micrograms of Vitamin A in the form of provitamin A carotenoid, which the body eventually converts into retinol. Spring onions are also rich sources of sulphur and vitamin K, so feel free to add them to your noodles, soup or salads! Possibly one of the most widely used kind, brown onions have a very strong flavour. If you have an upset stomach or suffer from gastric issues, brown onions have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that may offer some relief. This is also due to the presence of saponins in them. Make some onion rings or add them to your burger or sandwiches. White onions are dubbed as 'all-purpose' onions and have a longer shelf life than their counterparts. You'll find them in Mexican and Southwestern cuisines, also typically in white sauces, pasta salads and potato salads. Rich in fibre and flavonoids, they also offer blood-thinning properties. Leeks are best had sauteed or sweated as a side dish. They lend body to soups, stews and other recipes as well. Repositories of vitamin K, B6 and C, manganese, copper, iron and foliate leeks are extremely nutrient-dense. They can be eaten raw or you can fry them, pickle or roast them.