Onions and garlic

Onions  and other lily plants such as  garlic , shallots and  chives  contain substances containing sulfur and sulfide that protect against cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Stomach cancer is a common type of cancer, the occurrence of which is closely related to the food consumed. In onion and garlic growing areas, where the consumption of these lily plants is above average, the mortality rate from stomach cancer was significantly lower.

Protection against stomach cancer and colon cancer

A controlled, prospective cohort study showed that eating more than half an onion per day significantly reduced the risk of stomach cancer. A reduced risk of colon cancer is also observed with a high consumption of garlic and onions. The sulphur-containing ingredients in onions and garlic are probably primarily responsible for this protective effect.

However, the question of whether the lily family only has this effect when raw or also when cooked or fried has not yet been sufficiently clarified.

Onions and garlic against aggressive radicals

But onions also have other positive properties: They have a high content of the flavonoid quercetin. Quercetin has  an antioxidant effect , so it helps the body to fight off aggressive free oxygen radicals. Quercetin also has an anti-carcinogenic and anti-microbial effect. Flavonoids  are heat stable, so fried onions still contain a high proportion of them.

Because of their antimicrobial properties, onions were already used by the Egyptians around 1500 BC. valued for the treatment of inflamed wounds. The thiosulfinates are primarily responsible for this, as they inhibit the arachidonic acid metabolism and thus the formation of inflammatory mediators. Various home recipes are also based on this effect, such as onions cooked with sugar for  sore throats  and  coughs .

Alliin as a heart protector

Onions are also real heart protectors: Their sulfur-containing compounds inhibit the aggregation of blood platelets and thus prevent the formation of blood clots. The blood becomes “thinner”, the overall circulation improves. Ajoene and allicin have proven to be particularly effective substances. Ajoen has a similar strong influence on platelet aggregation as aspirin.

So far, ajoene has only been detected in fresh garlic, but not in tablets, oils or other garlic extracts. So if you want to take advantage of the health-promoting properties of ajoene, you have to eat garlic fresh and accept that other people don’t always like the special scent that you then exude through your breath and skin.

Allicin is only created when the garlic is crushed by the enzymatic splitting of the substance alliin and is also responsible for the characteristic smell of garlic. Incidentally, Alliin is also responsible for the tears when cutting onions. However, the alliin in onions has a slightly different structure and is converted by a different enzyme. This then produces the tear-stimulating substance in the onion: propanthial sulfoxide.

So you can enjoy the onion cake time and even do something for your health. But be careful: Due to the high fat content of onion cake, this can quickly affect body weight. A colorful salad with lots of fresh onions is a good addition.

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