Imagine, what would have been our curries, pakodas and raitas be like if there were no onions in this world. Onions have always been intrinsic part of Indian dishes. But beyond adding its strong flavours to our delicacies, onions are also a treasure trove of health benefits. It is packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which are known to relieve cold, cough and flu. It is also healthy for gut and digestion. Onion also happens to be one of the most heart-healthy foods you can add to your diet. According to the book, 'Healing Foods' by DK Publishing House, onions are a good source of quercetin. This flavonoid helps avoid heart disease by preventing blood clots and cholesterol from sticking to arterial walls. Over time, quercetin can also help raise levels of "healthy" (HDL) cholesterol in the blood." Onion also contains good amount of heart-healthy fibres, which is good to regulate blood pressure levels too. Some studies have also suggested that high blood pressure patients may consider eating more onion.
The book 'Healing Spices', by Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD with Deborah Yost, also says onions can effectively manage diabetes, cold and high blood pressure. The book also mentions a study that studied the antihypertensive effects of onion "Researchers from the University of Utah treated 41 people with high blood pressure dividing them into two groups. One group took 730 mg of quercetin a day and one group didn't. After one month, those taking a supplement had a drop in blood pressure of 7 points systolic (upper reading) and 5 points diastolic (the lower reading)."
High blood pressure patients should cut back on salt and include more foods that are rich in potassium as it helps cancel out the ill-effect of sodium. Onions has decent quantum of potassium.
High Blood Pressure: How To Include Onions In Your Hypertension Diet
For the best results, one should have more of raw onions. Onions tend to lose their health benefits as you cook them; they are most nutritious when eaten raw. You can include them in salads or raitas. If the smell of raw onion is too much for you to bear, you can braise it lightly in stock or broth. You can combine onions with other ingredients that lower high blood pressure such as garlic and olive oil too in a healthy salad.
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