Check out these benefits of onion that are worth the (possible) discomfort of cutting them:
Protects Your Brain
Onions are a good source of the antioxidant quercetin. This flavonoid may help offset oxidative damage to muscle fibers and body tissues caused by intense exercise. In fact, in a study using lab animals, quercetin helped prevent oxidative damage to brain tissue after a long workout.
Keeps Your Heart Healthy
The pungent odor from onions (and garlic) comes from sulfur-containing compounds called allyl sulfides. These compounds, combined with onions' rich quercetin content, may help protect blood vessels from damage caused by cholesterol, boosting heart and vascular health.
In a study published in 2009, women who ate onions daily had greater bone density than those who didn't eat onions. And among older women, onion-eaters had a 20 percent lower risk of hip fractures. Researchers think sulfurous compounds, quercetin, and other antioxidants may be responsible for the beneficial effect.
More: The 12 Greatest Disease-Fighting Foods
Reduces Cancer Risk
A host of flavonoid compounds in onions (including quercetin) may help ward off cancer by preventing damage to genetic material inside cells, ultimately blocking cancer-causing agents from wreaking havoc. Studies show that frequent onion-eaters have lower risk for some types of cancer and heart disease compared with people who don't eat them.
Onions contain a special type of carbohydrate called fructo-oligosaccharides (or FOS) that, while not digestible by our enzymes, serve as food for our intestinal-tract bacteria. FOS promotes the growth of healthy, immune-boosting bacteria-while keeping the bad bacteria at bay-and also helps improve digestive function by relieving constipation.
Fast Food: Runner-friendly dishes in 20 minutes or less
Grilled Onions. Slice a red or sweet onion into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook on a hot grill, 2 minutes per side. Use on burgers or sandwiches or add to salads.
Onion-Mushroom Sauté. In a pan heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté one sliced onion with 1 1⁄2 cups sliced mushrooms for 5 minutes; add 1⁄2 cup red wine and salt and pepper. Simmer 4 minutes. Serve on top of fish or lean meat.
Onion Soup. Slice an onion into circles; sauté 5 minutes. Heat beef broth in a pot; add onions, pepper, and salt. Cook 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls with Swiss cheese on bottom. Top with toast and cheese. Broil 3 minutes.
Onion-Topped Pizza. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Roll whole-wheat pizza dough to fit a pizza pan. Top with pesto, shredded mozzarella and Gruyere cheeses, and 1 thinly sliced red onion. Sprinkle with chile pepper flakes. Bake 15 minutes.