25 October 2004

--- Cry No More, There's Good News

Here's good news for all those "cry-babies" who cry everytime they slice their onions:

The Stronger the Onion, the Better It May Be for You

Pungent onions may make you cry, but they may also help protect you against cancer, according to a new study.

Researchers found strongly flavored onion varieties, such as New York Bold, Western Yellow, and shallots have the highest total antioxidant activity, which may enhance their ability to fight off cancer-causing cell damage. [Jennifer Warner, WebMD Medical News]

I cannot count the number of times I cried while slicing onions in the kitchen while preparing a meal. I am an onion-lover since I was a kid. I modify the recipes of almost all dishes I prepare by adding more onions on them. My pancit (whether miki, bihon, or both) is always riddled with numerous slices of onions. I prefer them raw and crunchy.

Every pleasure has its price, as they say. And so, onion-lover that I am, I always cry a river before I eat my fill. But it's okay. They're yummy anyway. I brush twice afterwards with mouthwash, because I don't want people to avoid me.

Here in the Philippines, the elders have a belief that if you cry while slicing onions, you may not be able to withstand the attitude of your mother-in-law. But that's just one of those old wives' tales. I don't believe them. Onions make us cry because of an irritant known as propanthial S-oxide, discovered by Japanese scientist Shinsuke Imai who published his work in Nature science mag two years ago. He was hopeful that his discovery will pave the way for geneticists and horticulturists to come up with a tear-free onion.

Two years after, we still don't have tear-free onions, but comes this new study that offers onion-lovers a reason to smile and be happy...

In the study, researchers analyzed fresh, uncooked samples of 10 common onion varieties and shallots for their total antioxidant content and activity, as well as their ability to fight cancer growth in human cells.

Researchers found shallots had the greatest antioxidant content and activity, followed by Western Yellow, New York Bold, and Northern Red. Although shallots resemble onions, they are actually a different species, but they were included in the analysis.

These same pungent onion varieties and shallots were also the most potent inhibitors of human cancer cells.

Milder onion varieties, such as the Vidalia, had among the lowest antioxidant content and activity.

The results appear in the Nov. 3 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. [Jennifer Warner, WebMD Medical News]

Want MORE facts about onions?

Visit the National Onion Association.

Yes...same here..... I was also surprised to discover that such a website and organization exists.

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