One of civilization's oldest medicines, onions have also been used to pay rent and congratulate newlyweds. Onions are rich in antioxidants and are possibly one of the best cancer-fighting foods you can eat. Shallots and red and yellow onions are the richest dietary source of quercetin, a potent antioxidant. The numerous anti-cancer agents in onions are effective against:
- Cancer of the mouth
- Throat cancer
- Lung cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Liver cancer [source: Galeone]
Eating plenty of onions can reduce your risk of throat cancer by 88 percent and prostate cancer by 71 percent [source: La Puma]. People who live in Vidalia, Ga., home of the Vidalia onion, have one-third the rate of stomach cancer as the rest of the U.S. [source: Carper].
They're also good for your heart. Onions lower cholesterol and blood pressure. They contain anticoagulants that thin blood and reduce clogging of the arteries. Onions can even block the blood-clotting activity that fatty foods produce.
Onions are a centuries-old and research-proven treatment for diabetes. Cooked or raw, onions depress blood sugar. The more onions you eat, the greater the effect.
They'll help fight a number of other ailments, too. Onions are naturally antibiotic, antiviral, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. They help dilate bronchial tubes, making breathing easier for mild asthmatics, hay fever sufferers and people with chronic bronchitis. Onions can even help you deal with stress. Quercetin is a mild sedative that induces relaxation and sleep.
Find out about the health benefits of fish on the next page.