Onions, Flu Protector or Poisonous?

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Our Friend or Our Foe?

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The inspiration for “Onions, Flu Protector or Poisonous” was from an email forwarded to me by a friend.  I was so surprised to read that one of my favorite foods could be poisoning my body! 

Did anyone else receive the email recently about onions?  I did, twice, which makes me think that this email has circulated around the net for a while.  The email related three aspects of onions: that they are antibacterial and antiviral, that leftover onions are poisonous and that commercial made mayonnaise will not grow bacteria. Did any of you start to panic a bit after reading the email? Did you believe the email on onions?  It really sounded scientific and true.  But, there was that little doubt in your head.  That is why you did a search on google and found this article.  So, keep reading-will let you know the “skinny” on onions and the real scoop on this story.

When I read the beginning of the email, the story about the family that didn’t get the flu in 1919 because of unpeeled onions around the house; this sounded too unreal.  Firstly, unpeeled onions cannot not “absorb” bacteria or viruses because of the peel around the onion.   Also, the story continues to say that a doctor apparently looked at the flu under a microscope in 1919.  This was impossible at that time because you can only look at viruses under an electron microscopes which wasn’t invented until 1931.  So, this flu story is not true and you can check out snopes.com to verify this.

The next part of the email is how leftover raw cut up onions are poisonous. Not true again, unless you contaminate the raw onion when you cut them (with dirty hands for example).  Onions emit sulphuric acid which protects them from bacteria after being cut.  They are not poisonous! Leftover onions are fine to use after being cut and stored away in the refrigerator.

Finally, the last part of the mail concerns commercial made mayonnaise.  Commercial made mayonnaise is acidic, which protects it against bacterial growth.  So, if you get sick at that summer picnic on potato salad, usually it was not the commercial mayonnaise that did you in, it was the onion or potato in the salad that caught the bacteria.  You can even leave commercial mayonnaise out of the refrigerator and you won’t get sick!   (Not that I would do this, I feel mayonnaise belongs in the fridge, whether it is commercial or not).  My rule though, for summer picnics, “if it isn’t on ice, and the food has been out for an hour or more, don’t eat it.”  Not following that rule increases your chances to get food poisoning.

So…some of those emails we get that sounds so convincing and actually not true.  So readers, who threw away their leftover onions after reading this erroneous story?  Or did you fill your house with bowls of unpeeled bowls of onions thinking you won’t get the flu?  I guess the lesson is to not believe everything you read, and when in doubt check out:  snopes.com. This is a great website to check out rumors.  Being a major fan of onions just couldn’t accept their poisonous properties.  In fact, check out these cool onion goggles.  Do you eat or cook with an onion a day?  These could be a great addition to your kitchen :)
RSVP Endurance Tear-Free Onion Goggles, Pink

But before checking those websites out, check out some other interesting articles on this website geared towards a European healthy living theme.  Go to home page or double click on this link to read more on food, recipes and health.  In the meantime, enjoy your onions without any fear and read this article on some true health benefits of onions.

Bon Appetit from BrightonYourHealth.

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55 Responses to “Onions, Flu Protector or Poisonous?”

  1. Onions, garlic,leeks chives,etc, contain sulphur hydroxyl, this poison attacks the brain, the central nervous system,the heart, liver and kidneys, causes anxiety, aggression ,thus it’s harmful physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritualy.


  1. mersha christopher - December 22, 2012

    RT @BrightonHealth: Onions, Flu Protector or Poisonous? http://t.co/irdy8Asy

  2. Stephanie Oates - December 29, 2012

    Ok, a friend recently posted a link that puts the onion thing to rest. It's so hard to know which to believe… http://t.co/HuHEWYFk

  3. Heather - December 29, 2012

    @TiaRonca Onions, Flu Protector or Poisonous? – http://t.co/TTXz42rT

  4. Heather - January 1, 2013

    @simplyjunebug here honey. http://t.co/tWGhXwra

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