Your Secret Weapon Against Colds

By on October 15, 2013
onions and garlic cloves

By Natalia Macrynikola for Ideas That Spark

Ancient Egyptians worshiped onions. They idolized the layered globe as a symbol of eternity and buried it along with their Pharaohs. And, as it turns out, they were onto something: routine consumption of the vegetable may in fact boost longevity.

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According to the National Institutes of Health, eating onions regularly can significantly lower your risk of several common cancers, including breast, ovarian and prostate cancer. That’s because onions are among the richest sources of powerful plant compounds called flavonoids, including the antioxidant quercetin, which quenches free radicals and prevents cancer cells from growing.

But anti-cancer effects aren’t the only health benefits you can reap from onions. Quercetin has also been found to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, fight allergies, and treat depression, among other conditions. What’s more, another study from the Medical University of South Carolina recently found that women, 50 years and older, who consumed onions once or more a day had a higher bone density than those who ate the vegetable once a month or less, lowering their risk of hip fracture by more than 20 percent compared to those who don’t eat onions.

And if all that isn’t enough to get your mouth (and eyes) watering, thanks to onion’s trace mineral selenium, the powerful veggie can also boost your immune system, which is especially important now as we enter winter’s sniffle season.

To reap the benefits, just follow this simple rule: Eat more onions, and eat them at least once daily. Both yellow and red are good choices, and there are endless ways to include them in your meal, from adding them as a sautéed topping to your sandwiches and burgers, to folding them into your favorite egg, meat and pasta dishes. Just remember to cook with the window open and freshen up your kitchen with a bit of air freshener afterward to eliminate the odor … a little breath freshener might not be a bad idea too!

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Your Secret Weapon Against Colds