Onions (Allium cepa), along with garlic, belong to the Lily family. They come in different shapes and varieties and are grown all over the world.
Onions are a great source of vitamin C, B1 and B5, biotin, folic acid, chromium and fibre. Moreover, they contain a variety of organic sulphur compounds , which are beneficial for our health (these compounds, especially allium sulphur, responsible for the tears when cutting onions, seem to help in preventing tumours of the digestive system). They also contain different types of flavonoids, especially quercetin, a molecule on which various studies are being carried out on their antitumor properties.
Some clinical studies have shown that onions and their extracts are able to reduce the level of fat in our blood and lower blood pressure. Also, the presence of inulin – helpful for people suffering from diabetes – slows down the absorption of fat and reduces blood sugar level. Finally, it acts as a probiotic, in other words it feeds the “good” intestinal bacteria.
Chopped sautéed onions can be added to almost any vegetable dish to enhance its nutritional values and taste. For a vegetarian chilli (typical Mexican dish), sauté chopped onions with Borlotti beans and a few peeled tomatoes, add olive oil and season with hot chilli pepper to taste.
The Biologist Nutrizionist Dr. Giancarla Monticelli