There are so many good
things to say about onions including that they are one of the cheapest sources of great wholesome food but, because they are also produced with the lowest pesticide residues, they can be safe to buy even when conventionally grown.
There are many health benefits from eating onions and we have written about them before here.
- Onions prevent cardiovascular disease
- They help to dissolve blood clots
- They lower the risk of developing cancer
- They fight against infections
- They improve lung function in asthmatics
- They help detoxify the body
- Onions lower triglycerides
- They help reduce blood pressure
Eat them raw, roasted, steamed or lightly fried or added to many different savory dishes - there is so much choice. And of course you can buy or grow many different types and colors of onions.
According to many sites on the internet: “left over onions are poisonous”. In fact when a food poisoning outbreak is suspected, one of the first things that investigating officials look for is when the victim or victims last ate onions and where those onions came from because onions, and especially uncooked onions, are apparently a huge magnet for bacteria. It is safer not to keep a portion of a sliced onion to use the next day even when put it in a zip-lock bag and placed in the refrigerator. Onions should be cut, sliced and eaten almost immediately.
I had never heard this before so I did a bit of searching online and what a mixed bag of opinions (and onions) I found.
Part of the argument from the believers in this is that, because onions attract bacteria, they can be put to good use in the sick room. Cut both ends of an onion, put it into an empty jar and place next to the sick patient at night and they will start to get better. This old healing remedy dates back to the time of the Spanish 'flu after the first world war but apparently was also put to good use at the time of the black plague when onions and garlic (with their powerful antibacterial and antiseptic properties) were placed around rooms to ward off the dreaded plague.
Some of the posts online dismissed this “old wives tale” completely, others said “what have you got to lose” and still more felt that this handed down healing remedy had merit. I guess that until a university or other body of good standing goes to the trouble of carrying out a scientific study, we will not know the truth.
Apparently one word of warning that is true is that dogs should never eat onions because their stomachs cannot metabolize onions.
And the ugly
This could be the smell of onions on your hands when you cut them and on the breath of those nearest and dearest when they eat raw onions. I dislike that intensely - especially green onions or spring onions which my husband loves to snack on at any time.
But there are ways round this minor inconvenience too. Just eating a few leaves of fresh raw parsley will take away the bad breath while lemon or lime juice also work well to the neutralize any smells on your hand. Either use full strength or dilute with a little water to make this citrus remedy
a little less drying to the skin.
And the bonus is that you have lovely lemon or lime smelling hands for some time afterwards.