Onions Are For Your Heart

It may make you cry! But it’s good for your heart.

Wrapped beneath their paper-thin skins, onions contain dozens of compounds that protect us from cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, and asthma.

Onions and other members of the allium family, such as leeks, shallots, and scallions, contain dozens of compounds that help lower cholesterol, thin the blood, and prevent hardening of the arteries –– all of which go a long way toward preventing heart disease.

The first family of heart-healthy compounds in onions are the flavonoids. Flavonoids are substances in plants that have potent antioxidant powers. They help prevent disease by sweeping up harmful, cell-damaging oxygen molecules called free radicals, which naturally accumulate in our body.

One particular flavonoid called quercetin helps in two ways. One, it helps prevent the dangerous low-density lipoprotein form of cholesterol from oxidising, which is the process that makes it stick to artery walls. Two, it helps prevent platelets in blood from sticking together and forming harmful clots.

A second group of protective compounds in onions are the same ones that make you cry –– the sulphur compounds. Experts say that these compounds raise your levels of beneficial high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which helps keep plaque from sticking to artery walls. At the same time, they lower levels of dangerous blood fats called triglycerides, which help make blood thinner, keeping your blood pressure in the safety zone.

Onions are a key player in cancer prevention, especially cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.
Quercetin actually halts the progression of tumours in the colons of animals. Scientists suspect that onions prevent cancer not only by putting the brakes on tumour development but also by stomping out harmful bacteria that may cause stomach cancer.

Onions are also beneficial to patients suffering from asthma or other respiratory ailments. The sulphur compounds in onions inhibit the allergic, inflammatory response like that seen in asthma.
Scallions, also called spring or green onions, are actually just young, underdeveloped onions. But they are higher in nutrients, particularly folate and vitamin C, than their adult counterparts.

A half-cup of chopped raw green onions provides 32 micrograms, or 8 percent of the daily value(DV) of folate, a nutrient that’s essential for normal tissue growth and that may protect against cancer, heart disease, and birth defects. In that half cup you’ll also get more than 9 milligrams (almost 16 percent of the DV) of vitamin C, an immunity-boosting antioxidant nutrient that helps vacuum up tissue-damaging oxygen molecules in the body.

Source: The Times Of India

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