February 18 2008 post: That onions are good for us is nothing new. If you have high glucose, a cold, a cough, high cholesterol, heart disease, asthma, high blood pressure or are at risk of developing certain types of cancer (colon, ovarian, prostate and so forth), etc., incorporate onions into your diet. Onions are good for us, period.

But the real reason I am writing this post is as follows: a recent Ralph Moss report, titled (hehe) “Read it and weep” (see: http://tinyurl.com/ytc2mp), contains some interesting titbits about onions. In recent years, he tells us, sweet onion varieties have been becoming more popular in U.S. supermarkets, mainly because they are less expensive than the red, yellow and white varieties, but also because they don’t make you weep all over the place when you cut them.

But are these blander varieties as healthful as their more pungent cousins? Not by a long shot. A group of Cornell scientists, Moss writes, compared the “phenolic and flavonoid content of 10 varieties of onion.” Shallots made the top of the list, followed by yellow and red onions (varieties grown in the U.S., but I presume or hope the same would be true of European varieties…?). And so on. You can see the list on Moss’ website, and you can also read the Cornell University news release here: http://tinyurl.com/yptld2.

The Cornell researchers tested all the onion varieties with cancer cells (for details, see the above-mentioned news release). Upshot: shallots and yellow and red onions had the strongest anti-cancer effects.

If you have a hard time peeling onions, the World’s Healthiest Foods website suggests chilling them for about an hour before using. That is a better method than peeling them under running water, which may wash away some of the healthful compounds, thus defeating the purpose.

Seriously, now, my final point is: forget about sweet or white onions, but buy or grow shallots or yellow or red onions. The bitterer, the better!

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