Healthy Living

Kristi Whitley

I LOVE ONIONS!


I can’t believe I haven’t written about this very important staple in my diet! I LOVE ONIONS! I eat them everyday. I spent $10K dollars on a master’s degree in horticulture at LSU and the most valuable thing I learned was how to select onions. (Maybe a slight exaggeration.)
 
I am very picky about the onions I buy. No ordinary yellow or white onion will do. I only buy sweet onions. This time of year you can find sweet onions grown in Vidalia, Georgia. They are the sweetest! But you can get good sweet onions all year if you know what to look for. Don’t be fooled by a sign that says “sweet onions”. If the onions are not shaped right, it’s a lie. Below are pictures of regular onions and sweet onions. Notice the sweet onions (on the right) have a squatty shape. They are smooshed in on the ends and fat in the middle. The non-sweet onions are pointy on both ends.








 
Size Does Matter
 
When buying onions, size matters. Onions accumulate sugars as they grow, the larger the sweeter. This is the opposite of most produce. I never cry when cutting these sweet onions either. Soooo, if you want to buy sweet onions year-round without having to look for Vidalia, choose squatty, giant onions and you will be happy.
 
Nutrition
 
There is a great website called World’s Healthiest Foods, whfoods.org. It is a non-profit with more information on more foods than you can imagine. This nutritional info is from their website and Lifeextension.com.
 
Onions are in the top 10 of commonly eaten vegetables for their quercetin content, which is most abundant in red or purple onions. In an article published in 2012 at Lifeextension.com, quercetin is purported to lower cholesterol, blood pressure and fight heart disease. They sited a study of 805 men aged 65-84, where those with the highest quercetin and other flavonoid intake were 68% less likely to die from coronary heart disease than those with the lowest intake.
 
Quercetin and Cancer
 
Lifeextention.com says, “At the cellular level, quercetin interferes with the processes that turn healthy cells into malignant cancer cells. Quercetin's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties protect cellular DNA from dangerous cancer-inducing mutations. Quercetin "freezes" rapidly reproducing cancer cells into an early, non-productive phase of the cell replication cycle.”
 
Lifeextention.com goes on to say that quercetin is very effective in relieving allergies and asthma.
 
More than Quercetin
 
Onions contain more nutrition than just quercetin. One cup of raw onion has 47 calories, 11g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 1g protein. In the micronutrient category it has 12% DV of vitamin C, 10% DV vitamin B6, 9% DV folate, also a little vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. Onions rock in the mineral supplementation category. They have a little of every one!
 
Onions have a good variety of amino acids so combining them with any other food boosts the dietary protein intake.
 
Onions are anti-microbial. Studies have shown that raw onions reduce the bacteria associated with tooth decay and gum disease.
 
Hate ‘Em?
 
I have read several studies on food preferences and genetics. As scientists learn more and more about our genetic code, I believe they will identify a gene for sensitivity to onions. Even without that specific gene, some people will refuse to eat onions based on childhood trauma, sensitivity to the smell (maybe genetic too), fear of bad breath, etc. I believe my friend Helen has a gene that makes her taste and smell extremely sensitive to onions. She can’t stand to eat a vegetable or anything that has touched an onion much less the onion itself. So sad.
 
All that to say…don’t hate on people who don’t like onions. They can’t help it. I feel sorry for them.
 
Do you really need a recipe to use onions? Okay, here are a couple of onion-laden recipes I love.
 
All the best, K
Isaiah 40:26
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. 

Baked Onion rings
 
Large red onion, sliced
3 Tablespoons chickpea flour
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon rice flour
salt
garlic powder
 
Dip red onion slice in the batter and place on parchment lined sheet.
 
Bake for 15 or so minutes at 400 degrees F.
 

Artichoke Hearts With Red Onions In Herb Vinaigrette
Serves 6
Ingredients
6 Tbsp. Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Pompeian Red Wine Vinegar
1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely minced
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano leaves
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cans (14 oz. each) Pompeian Artichoke Hearts, packed in
water, drained well on paper towels and quartered
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

Preparation
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano and parsley and whisk until well
blended. Season with salt and pepper. Add the artichoke hearts and red onion and toss well with the vinaigrette.
Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours or until nicely marinated. Serve as part of an hors d’oeuvre table. Pass
around a basket of good crispy croutons or toasted garlic bread to soak up the vinaigrette.
Remarks

For an appetizer or first course, toss the salad with 1 cup diced fresh mozzarella and 1/4 cup julienne of
proscuitto before marinating. Serve lightly chilled on leaves of radicchio and garnished with black olives.
Any canned or jarred artichoke hearts packed in water will work in this.

Thanks to Pompeian website for this recipe.