Health Benefits of Onions

Love them or hate them, onions are everywhere. Although they are not often eaten alone, they are used to embellish or add flavor to an incredible array of foods. Preparing onions can be a little difficult due to their strong odor and ability to make the eyes water, but that’s just more evidence of the onion’s potency when it comes to fighting disease and improving health. For those that don’t care for the taste of onion, it can often be added to a recipe and not even noticed, particularly after being cooked. These are some of the health benefits onions have to offer.

1. Bug Killer

As both the strong taste and odor indicate, onions are pretty potent, and when it comes to the world of germs, onions are a powerful ally. Onions have antimicrobial properties that can kill off bacteria and viruses which may be helpful in keeping infections at bay.

2. Nutrients

Onions provide the body with a number of essential nutrients including vitamin B, vitamin C, potassium, and sulphur. Onions also contain a lot of fiber and very low in fat and sodium.

3. Blood Sugar

Maintaining the proper blood sugar level is extremely important if you want to avoid diabetes. Onions contain a compound known as allyl propyl disulphide, which is what gives them that strong odor and can make tears stream down your cheeks when you cut them. The plus side to this compound is that it also helps lower blood sugar. Onions also contain chromium which is key to helping the body’s cells respond to glucose.

4. Heart Health

Eating onions can also improve cardiovascular health through their ability to help lower blood pressure and cut cholesterol. Both the allyl propyl disulphide and chromium contribute to the onion’s ability to improve heart health.

5. Cancer Fighter

With cancer responsible for the loss of so many lives, it’s worth paying attention to anything that might help prevent it. Onions have among their ingredients something called quercetin along with other flavonoids that act as antioxidants that can protect cells from damage that can result in cancer. Beyond the potential of just preventing cancer, quercetin has actually demonstrated the ability to stop the growth of tumors.

6. Bee Stings

Although this is probably not a use for onions that rivals the cancer-preventing or blood sugar-lowering properties of onions, this might be a useful tip for people who experience stings from bees, wasps, hornets or other stinging insects. Simply squeeze a little juice from a freshly-cut bit of onion and put it on the area of the sting and enjoy relief from the accompanying pain and swelling.

7. Immune System

Onions contain those amazing little compounds that are known as phytochemicals. They are available only in plant-derived foods, and can help vitamin C’s ability to charge up the immune system and better fight off all manners of infections and diseases.

8. Healthy Skin

Onions are a great weapon in the fight against aging. They contain vitamins A, C and E, which can help reduce the effects of UV rays on the skin, and protect skin cells from damage done to them by free radicals. Some people even apply fresh onion juice directly to the skin, and claim that it helps keep them looking more radiant and youthful.

Peach & Carrot Smoothie

Peach and carrot may be a combo that leaves you with a few doubts, but one thing you should know about smoothies is you never knock it until you try it!

Why not ? …to be tried…

peach-smoothie

Ingredients:

1½ cup canned peaches, drained (keep the juice)
1 cup pineapple chunks
1 medium sized carrot, diced
1-2 cups peach juice
1 cup crushed ice
2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey

Instructions:

Drain peaches. Reserve 2 cups peach juice.
Adjust amount of peach juice depending your preference for thickness.
Add all ingredients to a blender including 1 cup peach juice.
Serve.

Pomegranate Berry Smoothie

Many consider pomegranate a “super food.” They are packed with antioxidants which are combined with vitamin-rich berries for a super-healthy smoothie treat!

Ingredients:

1 cup of pomegranate juice
1 cup of frozen blueberries
5 large juicy strawberries
A cup of ice

Instructions:

Combine the ingredients in a blender and pulse until nice and smooth.
Serve and enjoy.

Skinny Pina Colada Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh or frozen pineapple chunks (or one 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, in juice)
1 medium to large ripe banana
About 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, or your favorite milk. Coconut milk is a good choice
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract, or to taste
Sweetener, optional and to taste (no-calorie sweetener such as liquid vanilla stevia drops or white stevia powder)
About 1/4 cup shredded coconut, optional and to taste
Splash of rum or Malibu Coconut Rum (optional)

Instructions:

Combine pineapple, banana, milk, coconut extract, and optional sweetener in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
Optionally add rum, to taste, and blend.
Optionally garnish and serve immediately.

Blueberry Cream Oatmeal Smoothies

Ingredients:

3/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 large banana, cut into 1-inch pieces and frozen
1/2 cup loosely packed spinach
1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or your milk of choice)

Instructions:

Place blueberries and oats at the bottom of the blender and pulse a few times to crush.
Add banana, spinach, Greek yogurt, honey, flaxseed, and almond milk.
Blend until smooth.
Serve immediately.

Tropical Green Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 to 2 cups frozen spinach
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1 cup frozen mango chunks
1 medium ripe banana, peeled (previously frozen in chunks is ideal)
1 cup milk (cow’s, almond, soy, coconut, kefir, horchata)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sweetener, to taste (sugar, agave, stevia, honey, maple syrup, Medjool dates)

Instructions:

Place all ingredients in the canister of a Vita-Mix or blender and blend until smooth.
Serve immediately.

10 Health Benefits of Green Tea

For those who may be unfamiliar, green tea does not simply mean tea that is colored green. In fact, in many cases, green tea is very close to the same color as “regular” or “black” tea. Green tea is brewed with tea leaves that have not been have been fermented like the leaves that are used to make black tea. Many believe that green tea is superior due to additional nutrients and antioxidants that are not as plentiful in black tea. Here is a small sampling of the health benefits you may enjoy by drinking green tea.

1. Weight Loss

green-tea-hot

Yeah, this one is a biggie. Anything that claims to help people lose weight is going to get loads of attention, and green tea is certainly not an exception. It is believed that green tea helps to rev up your body’s metabolism, which results in increased weight loss. Ask anyone who has had to deal with hyperthyroidism. Increased metabolism almost always equals weight loss.

2. Diabètes

With diabetes reaching what some consider to be epidemic proportions in the western world, this potential benefit of drinking green tea is definitely and attention-grabber. It is believed that green tea helps to regulate glucose levels in the blood, which means it may help to prevent diabètes.

3. Heart Disease

Green tea may help prevent heart disease since some researchers believe that it has a positive affect on the lining of the blood vessels, helping them remain relaxed even during times when blood pressure changes. It is also believed that green tea may help to prevent blood clots which can lead to heart attack, stroke and other serious health problems.

4. Esophageal Cancer

Medical research has lead some scientists to believe that green tea may help prevent cancer of the esophagus. What may be even more surprising is that green tea has shown some ability to single out and destroy cancer cells while leaving the surrounding cells undamaged.

5. Cholesterol

Green tea has shown promise as an aid in reducing cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. Specifically, it selectively lowers LDL or “bad” cholesterol which creates a healthier balance between it and the HDL or “good” cholesterol.

6. Brain Health

Both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease appear to be on the rise in our aging population. Medical research studies using animals has shown that green tea helped protect brain cells, and also aided with the healing of damaged brain cells. This may help to slow the progression of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

7. Healthy Teeth

This benefit may be a bit diminished if you like your tea very sweet, but since cutting down on sugar is a good idea anyway, you may have a better chance of benefitting from green tea’s ability to wipe out harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay. The antioxidant in green tea called catechin can also destroy bacteria and viruses that cause throat infections and other dental conditions.

8. Blood Pressure

High blood pressure often goes hand-in-hand with other health problems like obesity and heart disease. Drinking green tea on a regular basis is believed to help lower blood pressure.

9. Depression

Millions of people today are on various prescription medications for conditions like depression and anxiety. Green tea may help alleviate symptoms of anxiety by having a relaxing effect on the mind and body.

10. Skin Health

Again, it’s the antioxidant properties of green tea that can help fight the effects of aging on the skin. Studies conducted on both animals and people has shown that green tea, when applied directly to the skin, can also help reduce damage caused by the sun.