Onions for strong bones
The more onions you eat, the stronger your bones are. If you consume onions daily, you may reduce the chance of breaking a bone by perhaps more than 40 percent.
In 2009, Eric Matheson, a medical researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina, published an epidemiological study in which he analyzed data from 507 postmenopausal women age 50 and older. The data was collected in National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2003-2004.
The women had completed questionnaires about their dietary habits. In addition, scans had been made of their bones, which Matheson used to determine their bone density. The greater the bone density, the stronger the bone.
Matheson mainly looked at the intake of onions. In animal studies, feed to which onions have been added protects the bones against breakdown. [Nature. 1999 Sep 23;401(6751):343-4.] This is probably mainly due to sulfoxides such as gamma-L-glutamyl-trans-S-1-propenyl-L-cysteine sulfoxide in onion.
Cysteine sulfoxides inhibit bone cells that break down tissue. In addition, these pyhochemicals stimulate the body's own production of testosterone, but that's another story.
The more often the women ate onions, the greater their bone density.
At first glance, the effect found of frequent consumption of onions is modest. 5 percent more bone density in the group with the highest intake compared to the group with the lowest intake does not seem like much.
According to a meta-study published in the BMJ, smokers aged 70 have 4 percent less bone density than non-smoking peers. At the same time, these smokers are 41 percent more likely to break a bone than non-smokers. [BMJ. 1997 Oct 4;315(7112):841-6.]
"Frequent onion consumption seems to be associated with increased bone density and may be an area for future research", writes Matheson.
Menopause. 2009 Jul-Aug;16(4):756-9.
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