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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Onions Can Promote Vitality

Onions have been around for thousands of years and used in most cultures around the world. They are now the world’s second most important horticultural crop after tomatoes, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.

There are lots of different varieties including red, yellow, white, green and, of course, Georgia’s Vidalia onion. Onions can be eaten in many ways, both cooked and raw. They are full of many health benefits, especially when raw.

Onions are a member of the lily family just like garlic, leeks, chives, scallions and shallots. They have a rich content of odoriferous sulfur compounds and antimicrobial properties. They are very effective against many different bacteria, including salmonella and E. coli.

Onions have been used to treat colds, coughs, asthma, bronchitis and other breathing problems and they also repel insects. Onions help reduce the risk of developing colon cancer, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, and can help lower blood lipids and blood pressure. Onions are a rich source of flavonoids, which help provide protection against cardiovascular disease.

There may be an inverse relationship between the amount of onions consumed and stomach cancer, report several studies published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Onions have a universal appeal and are safe when consumed by most people. However, consuming large quantities of onions can lead to stomach distress, gastrointestinal irritation and diarrhea. Onions are especially helpful in diminishing the risk of blood clots. They are also rich in vitamin C.

Onions contain quercetin, a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that prevent histamine release. This is especially useful during pollen and allergy season.

Why are Vidalia onions so sweet? There are many reasons, including the regular rain and irrigation that increases their water content and makes them sweeter. The soil they are grown in has a low sulfur content, which keeps the Vidalia from developing a more pungent taste. Other onions get their hotter taste from higher-sulfur-containing compounds. When they are sliced they release enzymes that break down sulfur compounds and generate sulfenic acids, which are unstable chemicals that turn into the volatile gas sulfuric acid. This brings on the tears.

Here is a recipe using onions that is quick and easy to prepare.

Onion, Tomato, Avocado Salad

  • 1 cup Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 1 cup ripe tomato
  • 1 cup avocado
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos
  • 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves
  • pinch of cumin powder
  • 2 or more cups fresh greens
Chop the cilantro leaves, onions, tomatoes and avocado and toss with the lemon juice, coconut aminos and cumin; mix all together. Put this delicious mixture on top of a bed of spring mix or other lettuce.

Brenda Cobb is author of The Living Foods Lifestyle and founder of The Living Foods Institute, an Educational Center and Therapy Spa, in Atlanta, offering Healthy Lifestyle courses on nutrition, cleansing, healing, anti-aging, detoxification, relaxation and cleansing therapies. For more information, call 404-524-4488, 800-844-9876 and visit

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