By: Suzanne Brett, RHN – Victoria, BC
Never fear onions are always here! With winter upon us, all the trees are bare, all the colours have left us and few fruits and veggies are left. Depending on where you are, you may have ice, frost and snow in your gardens. This cold may have brought most of your veggies to hibernation or death. The onion family are among the few who can survive the winter. If planted late summer or early fall, by December or January they are ripe for the picking!
During your seasonal celebrations, I expect that most of you will enjoy a beautiful spread of delicious food made with love and attention. In doing so, there are almost always onions involved. In fact, I know that in our house, all I have to do is heat onions and butter in a pan and my man always says “dinner smells great, whatever it is!” So whether it be for your celebratory feast or an everyday meal, let me introduce you to a few things about onions that can make you feel clean and fresh, from the inside out, even at a time when you may feel as though fresh local food is scarce.
Green onions, yellow onions, red onions and chives…
Cry your heart out! Lachrymatory-factor gas, a sulphuric based compound will help. This dreaded gas is actually essential for maintaining the many healthful properties of the onion. Without it, there would be very few.
The most effective nutrients in the onion and the whole allium family, that I adore, are the sulphurs themselves. The sulphurs in onions are what makes them so great for detoxification. They’re very effective for binding to toxins and helping prepare us for clearing them out. By being a pungent food, onions are also great for getting down deep into our lungs and clearing out congested breathing pathways. Onions are also a great antibacterial food. Thus also helpful for daily cleaning of the gut during cleansing.
The following are among the enormous array of vitamins, minerals, flavanoids and phytonutrients that onions contain:
Biotin, manganese, copper, Vit C, quercetin, phosphorus, B6, potassium. These Vitamins and minerals all play a part in blood sugar balancing, heart health, skin health, respiratory support, tissue and bone formation, immunity and hormone balancing. They are also great cancer preventers and will always stand by you to help decrease inflammation in the body.
Onions are a sufficient source of folate, which is a bio-available source of folic-acid and therefore very useful in supporting the nervous system and the brain. Folate is also a necessary nutrient for preventing birth defects in women who expect to get pregnant or who are in their first trimester.
I hope I’ve given you a lot to think about while preparing your holiday meals, and for all your everyday cooking.
The following is a bit of advice on how to cook and prepare onions that some may not be aware of:
In order to maintain all of these amazing nutrients and apply the health impacts of onions, it is best to leave them to sit for at least 5 minutes after chopping them. Also, be sure not to cook them any longer than 10-15 minutes on low-med heat only. It’s a good idea to add them close to last in any dish. Or in the case of green onions or chives, use them as a garnish. Red onions are also great if sliced thin and eaten raw.