There is nothing quite like an onion. Red, white, yellow, green, sauteed, raw, roasted, caramelized, baked, or boiled…I’ll take a serving of one of these glorious bulbs anyhow any way any day. In fact, I can’t think of a smell I love more than a freshly chopped onion being sauteed in some olive oil; it is a smell that reminds me of all the woman of my family and one that certainly wets my appetite.
Onions, or Allium cepa, belong to the lily family. They are native to Asia and the Middle East and have been cultivated for over five thousand years.
We have accounts of the onion as far back as the days of the ancient Egyptians when the onion was not only eaten and used as currency, but also worshiped. The spherical shape and concentric rings were known to be a symbol of eternal life so much to the Egyptians that they’d placed them in the tombs of kings. Yes, Tutankhamen himself left this world with onions at his side.
As with most things, the Egyptians knew what was up. Modern science tells us that Onions are a major source of polyphenols and flavonoids. Flavonoids, most commonly known for their antioxidant activity, also seem to work within the body to modify pesky nuisances such as allergens, viruses and carcinogens. Red onions, which are a bit sweet and might I say just darn beautiful, are particularly high in flavonoids.
And if flavonoids aren’t enough to inspire you to start eating a big beautiful bulb daily, I can add that this tasty plant is a wonderful source of vitamin C, blood-sugar-balancing chromium, Vitamin B6, folate, potassium, heart-healthy dietary fiber, energy-producing phosphorus and bone-supportive copper. They are also anti-inflammatory and a known cold fighter.