Get to know your onions

Whitsunday Times - - LIFE TASTE - Kath­leen Al­leaume is a nu­tri­tion­ist and ex­er­cise phys­i­ol­o­gist and au­thor of What’s Eat­ing You? KATH­LEEN AL­LEAUME

N O PANTRY is com­plete without onions and you can add them to pretty much ev­ery­thing. But chances are, you’ve been chop­ping them wrong. There re­ally is a way to do it without cry­ing and get the per­fect dice.

The se­cret to a good dice

We all know that chop­ping onions can make you weep. That’s be­cause onions con­tain sul­phur com­pounds, and when you cut into them mol­e­cules are re­leased in the air that re­act with the wa­ter in your eyes to cre­ate sul­phuric acid, which burns. There are some easy ways to re­duce this prob­lem, like re­frig­er­at­ing the onion an hour be­fore slic­ing, or pop­ping it in some iced wa­ter for five min­utes. But the best way is to chop it as fol­lows. The trick is not to cut the root, which re­leases the ma­jor­ity of the evil gas:

1. Cut onion in half length­ways.

2. Slice off the top (not the root).

3. Make par­al­lel cuts from the end, be­ing care­ful not to chop through the root. Note: For a finer dice cut cross ways through the cen­tre of the onion at this point.

4. Then turn onion 90 de­grees to make cuts across onion.

Six healthy facts about onions you don’t know

1. THE FORGOTTEN VEG: Just half an onion each day counts to­wards your five serves of veg­eta­bles, mak­ing them eas­ily dis­guised for fussy eaters in fam­ily meals.

2. IM­MUNE BOOSTER: One onion pro­vides be­tween 1520% of an adult or child’s rec­om­mended daily in­take of vi­ta­min C. This es­sen­tial nu­tri­ent is im­por­tant for nor­mal growth and de­vel­op­ment and ward­ing off the win­ter bugs.

3. PLANT POWER: Onions de­liver a unique bun­dle of plant com­pounds, like quercetin, which help fight in­flam­ma­tion, as well as sul­phur-con­tain­ing com­pounds that pro­tect against some can­cers and as­sist in re­mov­ing the stress on our bod­ies from en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors, such as UVB dam­age.

4. GOOD FOR YOUR GUT: Onions con­tain pre­bi­otic fi­bres that help with di­ges­tion and as­sist with in­creased min­eral ab­sorp­tion, in­clud­ing cal­cium, mag­ne­sium and iron.

5. SLIM PICK­ING: A 75g serve of onion pro­vides only 96 kilo­joules — a great waist­line friendly choice.

6. HEART HEALTH: Onions are packed full of flavonoids — a type of an­tiox­i­dant which is proven to re­duce the risk of heart dis­ease.

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