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The Versatile and Nutritional Onion

Linda Courtney

Onions are a vegetable that can be used in a variety of ways such as soups, salads, sandwiches and flavouring. Every type of cuisine in the world has a use for the onion in recipes. They can be sautéed, grilled, caramelized and roasted as well as served raw. Types of onion include red, yellow, white, green and even sweet. There are a number of health and nutritional benefits to onions. The onion should be included in every diet.

Nutritionally speaking, onions are a good source of Vitamin C and fiber. Fat, cholesterol and sodium are non-existent in onions making them good for most diets. They are best not consumed in large amounts as they may cause gastrointestinal distress including nausea and diarrhea.

Research has shown that onions are beneficial to health. They can reduce blood pressure as well as cholesterol levels, at least in the short term. Onions contain flavonoids which can help vitamin C perform its functions in the body that include decreasing inflammation. Flavonoids also can suppress the growth of tumors and prevent colon cancer. Menopausal women can take comfort that onions can help avert bone loss.

When selecting onions for purchase in the store, look for those that are firm and seem heavy for their size. The skins should be dry and paper-like. There should be no smell emanating from them. If there is a scent that could mean they are bruised underneath the skin and will go bad soon. Avoid those with any blemishes, cuts or bruises whatsoever.

Onions should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place with a lot of ventilation. Never store onions in a plastic bag or container where there is no air circulation as storage life could be shortened considerably. With ventilation, onions can be safely stored for a couple months. Onions of the sweet variety such as Vidalia are best stored in the refrigerator to lengthen their shelf life, but must be kept dry. Once an onion is cut, it can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to seven days.

The onion is a bulb that has many nutritional and health benefits but should be consumed in moderation to avoid gastrointestinal distress. It can be used in a variety of recipes and cuisines. This vegetable is easy to store and has a rather long shelf life when proper ventilation is given. Everyone should try to include the onion in their diet in whatever way they prefer.


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