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Onions Play a Flavorful Role in Liver Health


Onions are an underappreciated vegetable. Not only do they provide flavor and taste to a variety of dishes, but they also have several health benefits – particularly for the liver.

There are many key compounds in onions that promote liver health.

Folic acid – is essential for protein metabolism and the formation of red blood cells. Liver disease is often accompanied by a deficiency in folic acid. It’s critical to eat foods high in folic acid to lower the risk of a deficiency. Adding a red onion to your salad or chopped onions to your hot dog or hamburger will boost your folic acid.

Onions – are chock full of quercetin, a flavonoid that provides several benefits for the body. Although quercetin is naturally abundant in plant foods, many people do not get enough of it in their diets. Quercetin has been scientifically proven to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Human and animal studies have shown that quercetin supplements reduce the accumulation of dangerous abdominal and liver fat. Quercetin even helps prevent the development of cancer cells in the liver.

Studies have shown that onions increase bone mineral content, protect and regenerate Vitamin E, and fight type 2 diabetes and obesity. They also contain disulfides, which protect the liver and support detoxification, as well as vinyldithiin, which aids in weight loss.

How to Incorporate Onions Into Your Diet

We could list the cancer-fighting, liver-promoting benefits of onions all day, but none of that helps if you don’t find ways to incorporate them into your diet. Luckily, onions are delicious and easy to prepare. Here are a few great tips that will help you get your daily onion in at each meal.

Spanish Omelet for Breakfast

  1. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet.
  2. Add a small chopped onion.
  3. Once the onion begins to brown and emits a delicious odor, add in any other vegetables you enjoy (mushrooms and tomatoes are great!) as well as your eggs.
  4. Cook the eggs until almost firm (2 or 3 minutes) and flip.
  5. Cook for a few more minutes, until preferred doneness.
  6. Eat and enjoy!

Cranberry Walnut Salad for Lunch

  1. Take your favorite kind of lettuce, spinach or greenery and add dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, and red onions.
  2. If you have the time, a chopped apple or pear will add a little tang and a satisfying crunch!

Chili for Dinner

Everyone has a favorite chili recipe. The next time you cook chili, whether it’s in the slow cooker or on the stove, add some chopped onions to the dish. You’ll be surprised at how great it tastes – and how great it makes you feel!, Surprising Health Benefits of Garlic and Onions, Leo Galland, MD, Retrieved October 16, 2013, The Huffington Post, 2011., Onions, The George Mateljan Foundation for the World’s Healthiest Foods, Retrieved October 16, 2013, The World’s Healthiest Foods., Onion Health Research, National Onion Association, Retrieved October 16, 2013, All About Onions., To Stay Healthy, Eat an Onion a Day, Chris Kilham, Retrieved October 16, 2013, Fox News, 2012.

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About the Author

Diane Pulvino, BA, MA

Diane Pulvino is a writer and editor who lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband and her dog, Comma. She blogs about a variety of health topics, and is an avid fitness enthusiast. Diane has a master's degree in Communication and Rhetoric from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a bachelor's degree in Communication from the University at Buffalo.

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