India is deemed the ‘diabetes capital of the world’, but it also happens to be a treasure trove of home remedies or ‘dadi ke nuskhe’, which can be effective in combating this lifestyle disease. During a chat with my mother about diabetes, I was caught by surprise when she told me that consuming onions is an effective home remedy to control blood sugar levels.
When I decided to look up some research, I stumbled upon multiple studies to support this claim. Let’s take a look at benefits of onions for diabetics.
Onions are a staple vegetable in many cuisines around the world, prized for their distinct flavour and versatility in cooking. However, their benefits go beyond taste and nutrition. “Onions contain fiber, carbohydrates, protein, fat, sugar, vitamins B and C, and phosphorus. Due to so many nutrients, they are being used as traditional treatments across the world including in India. However, whether onions are beneficial for diabetics or not is still not clear,” says dietician and nutritionist Avni Kaul. She further points towards some studies that show the benefits of onions for diabetics and believes that more research might be needed. Here is what the studies claim:
Benefits of eating onions for diabetics
1. They regulate blood sugar levels
Onions contain compounds called flavonoids and sulfur compounds, which have been found to have blood sugar-lowering properties. These compounds can help regulate insulin levels and improve glucose metabolism, which is particularly beneficial for people with diabetes.
A 2011 study published in the National Library of Medicine found that consuming onion extract for four weeks significantly reduced fasting blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Another study found that daily consumption of raw onions reduced blood sugar levels in people with type 1 diabetes.
2. Improve heart health
People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing heart disease, so maintaining good heart health is crucial. Onions are rich in antioxidants, particularly quercetin, which have been shown to have a protective effect on the heart.
The study also found that consuming onions can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, both of which are risk factors for heart disease. In one study, people with type 2 diabetes who consumed 100 grams of onions daily for eight weeks saw a significant reduction in their blood pressure levels.
3. Onions boost immune function
People with diabetes are more susceptible to infections, so maintaining good immune function is important. Onions are rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants, which can help strengthen the immune system and protect against infections.
A study published in the ResearchGate found that consuming onions regularly can help improve immune function and reduce the risk of infections, particularly in older adults.
4. Onions promote weight loss
Maintaining healthy weight is important for people with diabetes, as excess weight can exacerbate the condition. Onions are low in calories and high in fiber, which can help promote satiety and reduce overall calorie intake.
Studies have found that consuming onions can help reduce body weight and improve body composition, particularly in people with obesity.
5. Support digestive health
People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing digestive issues, such as constipation and gastroparesis. Onions are rich in prebiotic fiber, which can help promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and improve digestive function.
The study mentioned before also found that consuming onions can help improve digestive function and reduce symptoms of constipation in older adults.
Overall, onions offer a range of health benefits for people with diabetes. So, the next time you’re cooking, don’t forget to add some onions to your dish!