Care of Amy Symington

A part of the allium family, along with its pungent cousin garlic, the onion is the often overlooked but most highly utilized vegetable in the world.

As a fibrous, low glycemic food, onions have a bounty of health benefits to boast about. Firstly, they contain an organic sulfurous compound known as allicin which has been shown to exhibit antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal activity. Sulphuric compounds like allicin have also been shown to play a key role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, minimizing blood cholesterol levels and promoting immune function.

In addition, onions have a high level of the flavonoid quercetin, which due to its high antioxidant activity reduces inflammation and free radical damage, in turn minimizing the risk of certain types of cancer.  Even eating a few servings per week (e.g. ½ a small onion = 1 serving) has shown promising results specifically for colon and ovarian cancers.

Health benefits aside, let’s also not forget how deliciously versatile onions are.  They are the chameleon of all vegetables!  They are the beginning of every good stock, soup or stew and the end of all sandwich and salad classics. From caramelized onions, onion relish, and onion bhaji to French onion soup, the moral of the story is: onions are worth the tears and bad breath.  So throw on your ski goggles, get your breath mints handy, and start dicing.