the Amazing Onion

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-19-2005
the Amazing Onion
Sat, 12-31-2005 - 6:29pm


A Heart Smart Food

SMHEART Bold onions, a cousin of garlic, are true to their family and fight hard for your heart’s health. The flavonoid quercetin in onions has been shown to prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing and damaging artery walls.

And because SMHEART onions have higher levels of quercetin, they provide even more heart healthy benefits than other onions.

Of all the healthy compounds contained in onions, two stand out: sulfur and quercetin — both antioxidants. They each have been shown to help neutralize the free radicals in the body, and protect the membranes of the body’s cells from damage. Quercetin is also found in red wine and tea, but in much lower quantities.

Most health professionals recommend eating raw onions for maximum benefit, but cooking makes them more versatile and doesn’t significantly reduce their potency. In fact, unlike sulfur compounds, quercetin can withstand the heat of cooking.

Cardiovascular Benefits

The regular consumption of onions has, like garlic, been shown to lower high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, both of which help prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. These beneficial effects are likely due to onions' sulfur compounds, quercetin, its chromium and its vitamin B6, which helps prevent heart disease by lowering high homocysteine levels, another significant risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

As with garlic, onions help prevent thrombosis and reduce hypertension, according to the American Heart Association. The juice of one yellow onion a day can raise HDL cholesterol (the good stuff) by 30% over time, according to Dr. Victor Gurewich of Tufts University. Red onions don’t provide the same effect.

Onions have been singled out as one of the small number of vegetables and fruits that contributed to the significant reduction in heart disease risk seen in a recent meta-analysis of seven prospective studies. Of the more than 100,000 individuals who participated in these studies, those who diets most frequently included onions, tea, apples and broccoli—the richest sources of flavonoids—gained a 20% reduction in their risk of heart disease.

So Good...and So Good For You

An onion a day! Sound a bit far-fetched? It’s actually not such a bad idea healthwise. Onions have been proven to be a dietary key and highly recommended for people trying to prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer and infections. Like most vegetables, onions are fat- and cholesterol-free, and contain very little sodium.

The Centuries-Old Healer

For over 4000 years onions have been used for medical purposes. Egyptians numbered over 8000 onion-alleviated ailments. The esteemed Greek physician Hippocrates prescribed onions as a diuretic, wound healer and pneumonia fighter. During World War II, Russian soldiers applied onions to battle wounds as an antiseptic. And throughout the ages there have been countless folk remedies that have ascribed their curative powers to onions, such as putting a sliced onion under your pillow to fight off insomnia.

A Modern Day Preventative

Onions, part of the lily family, are just one of the members of the 500-plus allium family. While garlic, another allium, has been highly touted as a cancer preventative, most people consume far greater quantities of onions. As Americans search for low-fat, low-salt, but tasty meals, their eating more onions — more than 18 pounds per person, which is 50% more than a decade ago. Therefore, there is greater hope that the onion will be a key in producing long-term health benefits.

In addition to tasting great, onions contain 25 active compounds that appear to inhibit the growth of cancerous cells, help combat heart disease, inhibit strokes, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and stimulate the immune system. Alliums are also antibacterial and antifungal, so they can help ward off colds and relieve stomach upset and other gastrointestinal disorders.

So get smart and make SMHEART onions a regular part of your diet.


Serving Size: 1 medium onion (148g)

Amount Per Serving

Calories: 60 Calories from Fat: 0

Total Fat: 0g


Saturated Fat: 0g


Cholesterol: 0mg


Sodium: 5mg


Total Carbohydrate: 14g


Dietary Fiber: 3g


Sugars 9g

Protein 2g

Vitamin A: 0%

Vitamin C: 20%

Calcium: 4%

Iron: 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Source: PMA Labeling Facts

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