Tips and techniques

The surprising health benefits of onions

Onions are one of those love ‘em or hate ‘em deals, but if you’re after a healthy lifestyle, it may be time to start including this tear-inducing bulb.

Diced through a fresh guacamole, sautéed down to make a comforting, flavoursome base for sauces or grilled on the barbecue to top beef burgers, there’s no doubt that onions are a totally delicious and utterly necessary addition to cooking.

But it’s easy to forget that onions are vegetables too, and that means that they’re bringing a tonne of necessary nutrients to your meals without you even noticing.

The unassuming onion boasts vitamins A, B6, C and E and minerals like sodium, potassium, iron and dietary fibre, which help to boost your immune system and maintain good gut and heart health.

Plus, plenty of antioxidant, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties do wonderful things for your overall wellbeing; onions have been used for thousands of years as a type of preventative medicine, especially during periods of outbreaks of cholera and the plague.

Plus, according to folk medicine, onions can go a long way to relieving coughs and colds and combating phlegm.

Unfortunately for some people, when it comes to reaping the health benefits from these powerful little ingredients, raw is best; the organic sulphur compounds that make you cry when you cut contain most of the health benefits, but these can be partially destroyed by heat.

So if you’re not an eat-it-like-an-apple kind of onion lover, bake them whole in their skin next time you’re whipping up a roast chicken dinner. Tender, sweet and mild, you’ll get all of the goodness and none of the burn.

Guess we’ll be eating shallots more onions, then.

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