Onion is one of those daily food essentials that Indians simply cannot do without. Whether you like it or not, the ‘bulb onion’ with a strong and pungent flavor is an indispensable part of your everyday meals. But the use of onion is far from limited to adding flavor and taste to the food. This humble vegetable comes with tons of benefits for our overall health and beauty. You must have already heard why daily consumption of onion is a good habit for health and how it can promote the growth of hair by preventing severe hair loss. In this article, we will focus only on the skin benefits of onion. If you include onion in your skincare regimen, your skin will thank you after a few months. Here is why you must use onion for skin care and how to do it to enjoy the maximum benefits.
What Are Onions?
Originated in Asia (eastern and westerns parts), onion or ‘bulb onion’ is one of the most widely cultivated vegetable species of the genus Allium. The temperate crop usually grows under all climatic conditions and is consumed all around the globe. Onions are basically the short stems of the onion plant containing fleshy, juicy bluish-green leaves. Found at the base of the plant, the bulbs preserve food for helping the plant survive several harsh climates. Some of the most common varieties of onion are red onion, white onion, green onion, yellow onion, sweet onion, shallot, leek, etc. They are characterized by a sharp, pungent flavor along with a very strong taste. The vegetable has long been admired for its medicinal properties. But its use in culinary dishes, pickles, chutneys, and salads are more common these days.
Nutrition Profile Of Onion
Onion is a highly nutritious vegetable that can be served both raw and cooked. A cup of chopped onion has around 64 calories, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of protein, 7 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of dietary fiber. It also contains antioxidants quercetin, vitamins (B6, B9, C) and small amounts of minerals (iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, sulfur, etc.). Moreover, onion is absolutely free of fat and cholesterol.
Onion contains two phytochemicals named ‘Allium’ and ‘Allyl Disulphide’ that contribute largely to its health benefits. Upon ingestion, they get transformed into ‘allicin’, which helps in lowering blood pressure levels, softening blood vessels, reducing the risk of diabetes, and fighting against cancer.
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[A] Why Use Onion For Skin Care?
Being rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and certain other vital nutrients, onion is considered as a crucial part of a healthy diet. But the vegetable is not all about making our health better. It can make us look gorgeous by taking the utmost care of our skin. We have listed below the benefits of using onion for skin care:
1. Protects From The Sun
Onion is a great source of flavonoids as well as antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. All these help in protecting our skin cells from the damaging effects of the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun.
2. Combats Signs Of Aging
The antioxidant quercetin and certain sulfur-rich phytochemicals make onion a strong anti-inflammatory agent. Therefore, it is quite effective in fighting against free radical damages as well as the signs of untimely aging.
3. Acts As A Blood Purifier
The antioxidants in onion help detoxify the body by removing toxins from the bloodstream. This purifies the skin and prevents the chances of developing a number of skin issues eventually.
4. Heals Acne And Scars
The vegetable is antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory by nature. All these properties cumulatively make it a great remedy for acne by killing infection-causing bacteria, reducing inflammation, healing the scars, and preventing further breakouts.
5. Nourishes The Skin
The vitamin content (especially vitamin C) of onion is known to nourish our skin efficiently while making it healthy, blemish-free, and full of radiance.
6. Prevents Skin Infections
The essential oils present in the vegetable has great antibacterial as well as antiseptic properties, which help combat a number of skin infections successfully.
Taking onion and garlic together is known to be highly effective in reducing inflammation and driving away pain. The combo also acts as a powerful natural anticoagulant and antidepressant.
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[B] How To Consume Onion For Skin Care?
Onion, being itself a food ingredient loaded with lots of nutrients, can be consumed for improving the health of our skin from within. Here is how to include it in our daily diet for better skin:
1. Raw Onion
Raw onions are extremely high in organic sulfur, which keeps our pores clean and prevents breakouts. It is also rich in flavonoids, which protect our skin from environmental stress. You can either use raw onion in your favorite salads along with other nutritious fruits and vegetable or simply munch on it raw.
2. Cooked Onion
Lots of people do not like the lingering smell of onion and hence, include it in their meals either boiled or cooked. Such onions work as a good source of fiber and copper, which keep digestive issues away, boost metabolic processes, and give us clear and flawless skin. But make sure that you do not overcook onion as that will destroy all its benefits.
The outer layers of bulb onions have higher concentration of flavonoids. To avoid unwanted loss of this healthful component and maximixe the benefits of the vegetable, peel its fleshy edible portion as little as possible while removing the outermost paper-thin layer (1).
[C] How To Apply Onion For Skin Care?
When it comes to taking care of the skin, most of us prefer the topical application of natural skin-friendly ingredients. Onion can be a great option for this purpose and here is how:
1. To Prevent Aging
Cut a fresh, medium-sized onion into small pieces and juice them up. Dip a cotton ball into it and apply all over your skin. This practice can boost the flow of blood throughout skin cells significantly, which eventually gives a wrinkle-free, firmer and young-looking skin with a better texture.
2. To Cure Acne
You can simply massage your face with some fresh onion juice or prepare an onion face pack to fight off the acne-causing bacteria efficiently. Take one tablespoon of onion juice and add one tablespoon of olive oil or almond oil to it. Blend well and apply on your skin. After 15 minutes, wash off with cold water.
3. To Remove Spots, Patches, And Pigmentation
The vitamin C component of onion plays a keys role in treating dark spots, ugly patches, pigmentation marks, and so on.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of fresh onion juice with one tablespoon of plain yogurt. Add 4 to 5 drops of lavender oil to the mixture. Massage your face with it in a gentle circular motion by using your fingertips.
- Prepare a liquid mixture by blending one teaspoon of fresh lemon juice with two teaspoons of fresh onion juice. Dab it on your skin with a cotton ball. Was away with lukewarm water after 10 to 15 minutes.
- Add a pinch of turmeric powder to one tablespoon of fresh onion juice. Massage your face with it daily.
4. To Get Brighter Skin
Regular application of fresh onion can help us get rid of the dull and lifeless skin. The antioxidants and vitamins present in the vegetable give the skin cells a significant beauty boost, which results in healthy, radiant skin.
5. To Get Lighter Complexion
Onion can purify our blood, thereby making our complexion lighter. For this, you need to prepare a face mask by combining two tablespoons of fresh onion juice, one tablespoon of gram flour, one teaspoon of milk and one teaspoon of ground nutmeg. Apply the smooth thick paste all over your skin and wash off after 15 minutes.
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[D] Side Effects Of Onion
Onions are generally safe to use for the benefits of health, skin, and hair. However, overconsumption of the vegetable can put you at risks of allergies, bleeding, bruising, hypoglycemia, low blood pressure, heartburn, gastric irritation, skin irritation, increased sensitivity, and stinking breath.
[E] Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Should I Eat Raw Or Cooked Onion?
Both raw and cooked onions are good for your skin. So, you can choose any of them as per your preference. But it is always better to eat raw onions if you can deal with its strong taste as the vegetable contains lots of organic sulfur in its raw form. You can even indulge in boiled or pickled onions to give the health of your skin a significant boost.
2. How Many Onions To Have A Day?
There is no recommended daily allowance for onions. However, you should not consume more than a couple of them a day in order to avoid the side effects.
3. Is It Dangerous To Eat Chopped Onion The Next Day?
There is no scientific evidence behind this. You can slice, chop, or dice raw onions and store them in the refrigerator for up to 10 days before consuming. For this purpose, use a resealable plastic bag or simply wrap the vegetable tightly in a plastic wrap. If you have leftovers of cooked onion, store them in an airtight container and place it inside the refrigerator.
4. Is Onion Good For Hair?
Onion is an excellent natural ingredient for our hair. Being rich in organic sulfur, it can make hair stronger and thicker while combating breakage and hair loss. It also increases blood circulation throughout the scalp, which helps in nourishing the hair strands. To know more, read Onion Mask for Healthy Hair – DIY.
- “Onions“, WHFoods.com