We discovered some interesting facts about onions in our research. To sum it up, they’ve been around for a long long time, onions were used as food and medicine and in some eras of history, onions may have carried a value worth more than some currencies at one point in time.
Before we dive into the health benefits of onions, let’s explore some of its history first. Scroll down if you’re more interested in why onions make us cry or how to deal with onion breath.
History of Onions
Depending on the source, onions have been around anywhere from 5.000 to 7,000 years in Ancient Egypt, India and China. Onions were so popular amongst the pharaohs that they were even buried with them.
Fast forward to the fall of the Roman empire where VegetableFacts says Europe’s main sources of food during the Dark and Middle Ages were cabbages and onions. According to some records, onions were the first vegetable that was ever planted by the colonists who landed in North America.
I recommend you visit the National Onion Association to view their wonderful representation of Onions Through the Ages.
The popularity of onions continues today. According to Statista the U.S. per capita consumption of fresh onions amounted to approximately 20.4 pounds in 2019. Yellow onions are the most popular type of onion making up 75% of the world’s onion production.
Fun Fact About Onions
According to FactsLegend New York city, which is today known by the moniker ‘Big Apple’ was once known as ‘Big Onion’. This is according to the book called ‘1,000 Places to Visit Before You Die’. The book was authored by Patricia Schultz.
Maybe that’s why the New York style hot dog has onions them?
How Many Types of Onions Are There?
When you think about onions what’s the first type that comes to mind? Probably the yellow onion which is the most common and versatile. There are also white onions, red onions, Bermuda onions, Vidalia onions, shallots, scallions, leeks and those little guys known as pearl onions. That list exhausted me already!
Over at FineDiningLovers they have a complete infographic and list of 21 types of onions and how to use them which is pretty cool if you’re looking to diversify your culinary skills.
Choosing the right onion matters when it comes to what you’re cooking. Onion varieties can vary not only in their size but in their taste. Sweet onions are obviously sweet making them pair better in dishes where you don’t want onions to over power the dish.
Chives or scallions can be used as garnish for heartier dishes like chili or a stir fry. Some onions can be consumed raw like a sweet Vidalia onion and others are better for making French onion soup like yellow onions.
What are the Health Benefits of Onions?
The Ancient Egyptians and many of our ancestors must have known about the health benefits of onions since we know they were used medicinally.
For starters onions are low calorie, low carb and are naturally fat free. They are also loaded with antioxidants and a flavonoid known as quercetin which has been known to aid in heart health.
Onion Nutrition Facts from the USDA:
- 1 cup sliced onions = 102 g
- Calories = 46 kcal
- Protein = 1.26 g
- Carbohydrates = 10.7 g
- Dietary Fiber = 1.96 g
- Sugars = 4.88 g
- Calcium = 26.4 mg
- Magnesium = 11.5 mg
- Potassium = 168 mg
- Sodium = 4.6 mg
- Vitamin C = 8.51 mg
- Vitamin B-6 = 0.138 mg
Can Onions Benefit Hair Growth?
Onions are have some powerful properties for nutrition. With all the health benefits of onions we started to wonder what can’t they do? After some quick digging it seems that the juice from onions can help with hair growth.
There are a number of different methods and we are certainly not health advisors of dermatologists but we do believe in holistic health.
Stylecraze wrote an article on How to Use Onion Juice for Hair Growth that includes 12 different topical solutions.
Why do Onions Make us Cry
Has slicing onions ever made you teary eyed? When you cut into an onion sulfuric acid reacts with the moisture in our eyes resulting in tears. Some say you should slice your onions under running water or in a container of water to avoid shedding a tear.
After slicing hundreds if not thousands of pounds of onions at a time I can tell you using goggles and running water didn’t help much. We eventually got used to slicing onions in large quantities and built up a tolerance.
If you’d like a more scientific explanation about why onions make us cry, check out this video.
How Long Does Onion Breath Last?
Unfortunately if you have a case of onion breath it can last for a few hours. Around here, if our family, friends and spouses had an issue with onion breath, it would get pretty lonely. Personally we’ve never tried to escape from onion breath, we embrace it!
We understand that first dates and other intimate moments may leave you feeling nervous though. If you’re truly looking to mask the oniony goodness, we heard raw parsley may do the trick. I guess you’ll have to choose, onion breath vs green stuff in your teeth. Which do you think will make a better first impression?