Onions Preserve Food, Fight Bacteria, and May Prevent Allergies

Onions may do more then make us cry, they may make bacteria cry too. Do you have meat in your refrigerator that is close to the “sell by” date? Put some onions on it. A from Spain examined the antioxidant and antibacterial properties of onions.  They found that both the onions themselves, and onion extract were effective in fighting bacteria and high in antioxidant capacity. The natural compounds found in onions could be used in the food industry as an alternative to synthetic chemical preservatives.

Onions, especially the outer layers, are rich in quercetin, a flavonoid and powerful antioxidant. Though not part of this research previous “studies have shown that onions have “antiallergic” properties, and they also help to reduce inflammation.” It is found in the skin of most fruits and vegetables as well as black tea.  There has been some research surrounding quercetin related to heart disease, cancer, athletic performance and allergy symptom relief.  Results in general have not shown that quercetin can actually help these conditions or lower risk of developing them, but more research is needed.

In this study, researchers found that the onion had antioxidant capabilities and antibacterial capabilities.  The yellow onion had a greater antioxidant level than the white ones, which would be expected as antioxidants are often the reason why fruits and veggies are colorful.  Onions also have fiber, vitamins C and B6 as well as possibly assisting in absorption of iron and zinc. So there are plenty of reasons to let the onion move us to tears!

Put diced raw onions in salads, slice them for a tangy sandwich topping or roast them to bring out the natural sweetness. If you steer clear of raw onions to keep your breath fresh, try this trick: pickling.  It’s very simple.  Just slice a red onion thinly, put the slices in an airtight container covered in red wine vinegar and refrigerate.  Let that sit for a few hours and the slices are a flavorful, low fat condiment for tacos, sandwiches and salads without the lingering odor!

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