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Mon, Oct. 14

When the onion rings, answer it

Samantha Frazier Gordon

Samantha Frazier Gordon

Cool as an onion.

OK, so it doesn’t go like that, but it should.

Onions contain quercetin, which is believed to have a cooling effect on the body when temperatures rise. Quercetin is the most common flavonoid found in onions, and in addition to cooling you off, consuming onions is thought to help with a host of other ailments.

The quercetin in concert with the phenols is thought to help ward off osteoporosis by destroying osteoclasts – the bone cells that resorb bone tissue and weaken bones. Onions are filled with complex sugars that help keep our metabolism in check while lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. In addition, studies have shown they may help ease asthma symptoms, reduce inflammation and ward off heart disease.

Onions are nutritious, too, with fair amounts of vitamin C, fiber, folate, calcium, phosphorus, biotin and potassium. And if all of that isn’t enough, sliced onions can sooth insect bites as well as burns. Mixing onion juice with honey is thought to help lessen the symptoms of the common cold and the sore throat that often accompanies it.

Onions have been part of the human diet for more than 7,000 years. The ancient Egyptians worshiped onions believing their spherical shape represented eternity and that the onion possessed magical powers and would ensure success in the afterlife. The Greeks were convinced that onions had superpowers, so they fed them to athletes prior to competition for extra strength and endurance.

Onions were even used as currency in the Middle Ages.

Annual world onion production is over one hundred billion pounds with the average person consuming about 13 pounds a year with the exception of Libya; where the average person consumes a whopping 67 pounds each year.

So, don’t let them see you cry, instead make onions a part of your daily food habit. Sauté them, roast them, grill them or eat them raw so you, too, can reap the multiple benefits of the unassuming onion.

But listen up ladies. If you happen to be in Blue Hill, Nebraska wearing a hat that might scare a timid person, you will be forbidden from eating onions in public, according to a municipal ordinance that is still on the books.

And remember when the onion rings, answer it.

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