Onions help fight visceral fat and improve liver health
To say that I have always enjoyed cooking with onions would be a lie. Child, I hated the strong smell of onions, and the fact that they make you tear up when cutting them. But eventually my hatred for onions grew out of my hatred, and now I can’t see myself making a delicious stew or sauce without them. That’s why I was happy to discover that these versatile vegetables have incredible health benefits that are hard to pass up. Research suggests that onions can help burn visceral (or abdominal) fat and improve liver health!
Peel the onion
A 2020 study published in the journal Nutrients investigated whether eating onions on a regular basis could improve liver function and reduce obesity. Researchers first noted that onions contain a flavonoid called quercetin which is responsible for giving vegetables like onions their red or yellow color. Quercetin also has antioxidant effects to reduce inflammation in the body, which can lead to weight gain and obesity.
This study was conducted in Hokkaido, Japan, with 70 adults between the ages of 30 and 60. Participants were asked to consume either nine grams of onion powder every day for 12 weeks or a placebo powder.
For the results, the researchers compared low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, also known as “good cholesterol,” between the two groups. This type of cholesterol is essential for maintaining liver function and weight management.
The authors ultimately found that those taking the onion powder had a greater reduction in belly fat than participants taking the placebo. Additionally, levels of an enzyme called alanine aminotransferase (ALT) decreased in the onion powder group, as opposed to the placebo group. This enzyme is found in the liver and only increases when this important organ is damaged. These findings led the authors to conclude that onions have great benefits for fighting obesity and improving liver health.
Which Types of Onions Are Highest in Quercetin?
Previous research shows that chartreuse and red onion varieties contain the most quercetin overall, while yellow onions only contain high levels of a fraction of this flavonoid, called quercetin 3-glucoside. Either way, onions of all varieties are a valuable addition to your diet, as far as your liver and weight are concerned.
Not sure how to increase your onion intake? They’re great for slicing or dicing and enjoying raw in salads for a little extra crunch. Try them as a topping for tacos or sprinkle them over a bowl of comforting chili. You can also caramelize them to bring out their natural sweetness. Caramelized onions are delicious tossed with cooked rice as a side dish or paired with a juicy steak. (Psst: don’t throw away those onion peels! Use them to make a soothing anti-aging tea that helps calm inflammation and lower blood pressure naturally.)
Onions without tears
Do you hate using onions in your dishes because they make you cry? Thanks to a gas called syn-propanethial-S-oxide that is released when chopped, onions can irritate your eyes. But a new variety of onions, called Sunions, might be just the ticket for your sensitive eyes: Sunions won’t tear when you chop them! (Our editor, Elizabeth, has tried them and can attest to their magical, tear-free properties!) Find them at your local grocery store while they’re in season!
This exciting research gives me more reason to think about ways to experiment with onions in the kitchen for delicious meals. Plus, see how well they work around the house to make everyday tasks easier!
This article was originally published on our partner site, First for Women.