A few weeks ago I had an uncanny craving for raw onions. Yes, like good ol’ yellow or white onions…raw. I couldn’t get enough of them on my salads. *No, you grandmothers and mothers hoping, I am not pregnant 🙂 Luckily I didn’t go all Grinch style biting into one like an apple, but suffice it to say that my breath did not smell pleasant for a good week or so.
Anytime I get a craving for something one of the first things I do is google it. Most times a craving indicates a insufficiency in one thing or another. Luckily for me my research showed that raw onions are actually pretty darn healthy for you so I let myself indulge my craving until it was gone.
Why are raw onions good for you you ask?
1. In studies the sulfur in onions has can lower blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, and also improve cell membrane function in red blood cells.
2. In combination with a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, onions health benefits can extend to helping prevent heart attacks.
3. Onions have been linked to helping increase bone density.
4. Onions provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
5. When consumed in moderate amounts onions have been shown to reduce the risk of several cancers including colorectal cancer, laryngeal cancer, and ovarian cancer.
Almost as soon as my onion craving subsided I started yearning for juicy grapefruit, which is odd considering I am not typically a big grapefruit fan. I wasn’t sure if it was the promise of Spring, or the trip we had planned to Florida, or a need for something the citrus beauty had to offer, but I needed some asap. So I bought a 5lb bag 🙂
A few breakfast bowls fills with fresh fruit, yogurt and honey seemed to satisfy my craving, but since I was still left with a good stack of grapefruits to use up I had to get creative. One not so healthy way I used them was as a juice an garnish for my vodka sodas 🙂 Very refreshing! This week, however, I have been chunking them up and using them as a salad topper. The tart, mildly sweet flavor burst in your mouth, and I’ve found it to be absolutely delightful next to the earthiness of canned beets and crispness of spring greens. This is also odd because I normally hate fruit on my salad.
So let’s review the health benefits of grapefruits…
1. Very rich in Vitamin C & A . Vitamin C helps the immune system, prevents free radical damage that triggers inflammatory conditions and thus helps reduce the severity of things like asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
2. They are good source of fiber.
3. Grapefruits gets their color from lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient that appears to have anti-tumor activity. Among the common dietary carotenoids, lycopene has the highest capacity to help fight oxygen free radicals, which are compounds that can damage cells. Lycopene-rich diets have been linked to greatly reducing the chance of prostate cancer.
4. Phytonutrients in grapefruit called limonoids inhibit tumor formation and the pulp of citrus fruits like grapefruit contain glucarates, compounds that may help prevent breast cancer.
5. Grapefruit contains pectin which has been shown to reduce blood levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and red grapefruits lower triglycerides.
The list really goes on here, but I’ll stop there since this post is already three miles long.
My point here is, listen to your body, research your cravings, and by all means give into them in the name of health (if they are in fact healthy that is)!