Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Onion Conumdrum

Used to be that onions were tempting treats that used to serve as an interesting form of prophylactic birth control. After a few onions, end of social life, no need to worry about pregnancy.

However, over the weekend, I read an interesting report by the Institute for Food Research in the UK. Some food scientists were looking into the lesser known nutritional aspects of food. The Atherosclerosis Study reported that onions seemed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Onions, like grapes (wine) and some other fruits and green veges, contain the all important flavonoids, which seem to reduce the inflammation that LDL-cholesterol induces on the arterial wall. In that sense, it acts a little like a statin.

From my reading, they tested the effects of the metabolites of quercetin (the flavonoids in onions) on the arterial wall. No details were given. I suppose, if the researchers were cardiologist, they would have measured the serum hs-CRP, but they did not. They measured the cellular response to atherosclerosis.

For effectiveness, you may wish to know that you need to consume almost 100-200 gms of onions a day, for the reported effect. That's about half a large yellow onion (5 of these in my kitchen weighs 2 KG). For those of us who want to find a partner, get married and then reproduce, it may still be easier to eat about 4-5 servings of veges a day for the same effect.

Anyway, it looks like onions have now achieved the new status of "nutriceutical". So mummy was right all along. Eat more veges, boy, it is good for you.

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