Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
Who loves onions? A staple in many recipes- not only delicious but super nutritious too! Did you know that onions not only possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties but are also a good source of selenium if grown in selenium rich soil?
Selenium is needed for the proper functioning of sperm and is involved in both the morphology and motility of sperm, which means it not only aids in the growth and shape of sperm cells, but also in their ability to swim. It is also important for the thyroid gland to work efficiently…..just a couple of its important roles!
Onions also contain the flavonoid quercetin which has been shown to possess anti- inflammatory properties and are loaded with vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant- important in protecting sperm and egg DNA from free radical damage. Studies have shown that vitamin C reduces sperm agglutination (clumping) and improves sperm motility. Multiple studies have found that taking vitamin C with vitamin E improved the number, mobility, and sometimes DNA integrity of sperm in men. As vitamin C is involved in glucose metabolism- it helps with sugar balance which is important for hormone balance too. Selenium will also protect your sperm from damage caused by free radical damage.
Onions are also a great source of prebiotics. Prebiotics are important in our gut as they help the growth of good bacteria (Probiotics). They come mostly from carbohydrate fibres called Oligosaccharides. As these fibres are not digested, they remain in the digestive tract and encourage the good bacteria to grow. Prebiotics are naturally found in fruit, vegetables and wholegrains. Other good sources are garlic, leeks and bananas.
Roasted onions recipe – a great source of prebiotics!
Ingredients: (makes 2 portions)
4 small and medium yellow or red onions
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons unsalted butter, thinly sliced
Pinch of coarse sea salt
Fresh black pepper
Fresh rosemary sprigs
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Cut the tops off of each onion, but leave most of the skins on the onion. Arrange the onions in a baking dish. Drizzle the olive oil over the onions. Place a thin slice of butter on each onion.
Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and top with a rosemary sprig.
Bake for 35 minutes or until tender.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
Remove the skins, slice and enjoy warm.