Among the most popular spices we have the red onion , widely used in the preparation of salads, beans, meats, sauces, etc. But even with all this fame, few are those who know the benefits of this vegetable.
For example, while its fresh consumption can help fight cholesterol and inflammation, the mixture with garlic and honey can be an excellent home remedy for coughs . Thus, with so many medicinal properties, even bad breath after raw consumption is forgotten.
However, knowing how to use red onion in the kitchen, it is possible to take advantage of the beneficial effects of the vegetable and still prepare delicious recipes. The options caramelized, pickled or salad are some of the most popular versions. In addition to cooking, this vegetable also yields a potent syrup.
Another advantage is its very low price, which fits in your pocket. Commonly, the kilo (kg) of this food is sold for R$ 15, at the most. You just need to know how to choose the best bulbs in supermarkets or street markets.
Benefits of Red Onion
The color makes the red onion have some beneficial effects in greater quantity, compared to the white option.
As an example we can mention the antioxidant action and the anthocyanin substance, two important weapons in combating cholesterol. Therefore, it is recommended to change the pale bulb for purple in culinary preparations. ( 1 , 2 )
Protects the body against degenerative diseases
Along with kale and arugula , onion is one of the main food sources of flavonoids, antioxidant substances. This means to say that it protects the body against the action of free radicals, unstable molecules that in excess are responsible for destroying (oxidizing) our cells.
Once cells undergo this oxidative stress, many degenerative diseases can arise as a result. Some of these problems are cancer, heart disease, obesity , type II diabetes , hypertension and cataracts.
However, the flavonoids present in the vegetable are in the form of anthocyanins and quercetins. In both cases there is an anticarcinogenic action, helping to reduce the risk of developing cancer, especially in the esophagus, stomach and breast.
In addition, natural food also has other properties such as hypoglycemic action, contributing to lower blood sugar levels. Consequently, it is an ally of diabetics.
It also acts as a cardiovascular, as it can reduce the fat content in the blood and protects good cholesterol (LDL). With these actions, red onion decreases the risk of thrombosis or atherosclerosis. ( 1 , 3 , 4 )
Helps prevent premature aging
And since we’ve talked about antioxidant action, it’s important to mention that it also prevents premature skin aging. This is because free radicals are prevented from causing damage to collagen and elastin.
These two proteins are located in the middle layer of the skin, called the dermis. They are responsible for providing tone, elasticity and balance to the largest organ in the human body. ( 5 )
For those who don’t know, free radicals already exist in the body, but they only cause problems when they are in excess. The problem is that they can be acquired on a daily basis through certain habits, such as exposure to ultraviolet radiation, excessive alcohol consumption, tobacco abuse and environmental pollution.
According to the Brazilian Society of Dermatology (SBD), all these factors can contribute to the acceleration of the biological clock and premature aging. ( 6 )
Helps in the treatment of respiratory inflammation
In addition, this bulb also has vitamin C in its composition, and as many know, this nutrient plays an important role in strengthening the body’s immune system. For this reason, it can fight flu, colds and dry coughs . ( 7 )
Acts against fungi and bacteria
Finally, two functions in one: combating disease-causing microorganisms, such as fungi and bacteria.
In its antibacterial action, for example, the constant consumption of onions can fight bacteria that cause caries and gastric disorders. The antifungal effect is especially efficient in the fight against the causes of ringworm . ( 3 )
What is it for in the kitchen?
This vegetable is a natural seasoning that serves as a condiment to enhance the flavor of food, for that it can be cooked or sautéed .
However, it can also be used raw in salads. A special tip is to roast the onion with its skin on a skewer, to serve as a barbecue accompaniment.
In addition, the spices that best match this bulb are: vinegar, pepper, lemon, salt, oil , bay leaves, cumin, cloves and nutmeg. ( 8 )
- 1 cup (of tea) of white vinegar
- 4 red onions
- 4 tablespoons of salt
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- Filtered water.
Peel the onions, wash them under running water and cut into slices. Then place the sliced vegetables in a container with a lid, adding the vinegar, salt and sugar mixture. Add filtered water last, filling the container. Then just close and store in the fridge.
- 1 cup of grated boiled beets
- 1 cup of grated cooked carrot
- 1 cup of grated cooked zucchini
- 3 tablespoons of onion, chopped into very small cubes
- 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt.
Assemble the salad in a round container. Initially, grease with oil and add a layer of carrots, followed by zucchini and onion. The last layer should be beetroot, which should still be covered with strands of the mixture between mayonnaise and yogurt. This dish makes three servings. ( 9 )
- 1 red onion
- Olive oil.
Peel the bulb and cut it into half moon slices without being too thick or thin. Then put oil in a skillet until it covers the bottom of the pan. Place on fire to heat and only then add the onion.
Over medium or low heat, stir the vegetable until it reduces in size, becomes soft and turns a dark brown color. You’ll know your recipe worked when you taste it and taste it sweet.
But be careful, don’t add more oil to the recipe, don’t add water and don’t increase the heat. By avoiding these steps, you will have caramelized onions in about 20 minutes, or 40 at most.
Red onion syrup with garlic and honey
The three ingredients in this recipe are the most used by the population in the natural treatment of asthma in children. And, despite being characterized as a popular home remedy, red onion syrup with garlic and honey has its properties attested to by science. ( 10 )
- 1 red onion cut into small pieces
- 1 clove of garlic cut into small pieces
- 1 cup of honey.
Place the honey in a container with a lid and add the other two ingredients. Then cap the remedy. The next day the syrup will be ready to be consumed. The indication is to take from two to three spoons (of coffee) a day, until the cough passes.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What vitamins does red onion have?
In addition to the aforementioned vitamin C, the purple bulb may have vitamin B1, B2 and B3 . ( 7 )
2. How to buy?
This vegetable can have various shapes, and can be found round, flat or even pear-shaped. But to find out if it is good for consumption, make sure it is firm and has a dry skin . Do not choose those that have sores, soft areas, mold or those that have sprouts. ( 8 )
3. How does the onion turn purple?
Remember the nt ocianina , a type of flavonoid that helps prevent degenerative diseases? Then, it is also responsible for giving the purple pigment or the reddish coloration to the bulbs. ( 3 )
4. What is the sweetest onion?
Red onion has the lightest and least acidic flavor, making it perfect to eat raw.
5. What is the difference between red and white onions?
As already mentioned, red onions have more antioxidant action than white ones, so they are more beneficial to health. In addition, they also keep longer than the others. ( 8 )
6. Is there any harm or contraindication?
There are no records of contraindications for this vegetable, even in relation to its prolonged consumption. However, the excess of this food can potentiate the effect of anticoagulants. ( 11 )