People have believed in the health benefits of onions for a long time. The ancient Egyptians thought onions symbolized eternal life, and in both ancient Greece and Rome athletes and gladiators used onions to lighten their blood and to firm their muscles. Doctors throughout history have prescribed onions to help with bowel movements, to cure snake bites and hair loss, and to relieve the symptoms of colds.
Modern research has shown that there actually are a lot of health benefits associated with eating onions. They are high in vitamin C and folic acid, and are a good source of fibre. They also contain flavonoids, which help vitamin C to function and decrease inflammation. They thin the blood and help with cardiovascular function, and may even inhibit the growth of tumours. The flavonoids found in onions also have anti-oxidant and anti-cholesterol properties. Onions contain sulphur, which is good for the liver, and have anti-bacterial properties too. Onion extracts are sometimes used to provide relief from coughs, asthma and bronchitis.