Are you a big fan of onions? If so, you're hopefully also a big fan of alcohol-free mouthwash, since this vegetable can cause some powerful halitosis. That's because foods like onions and garlic contain sulfur compounds that don't just stop at the mouth when you eat them, but instead make their way into your bloodstream. Your blood then carries these smelly compounds to your lungs, where they are expunged every time you breathe. This is why it may take a few days to fully get the smell of garlic and onions out of your breath.
However, this certainly doesn't mean you should avoid onions altogether, because along with being powerfully stinky, this veggie is also extremely healthy. In fact, even those smelly compounds may offer cardiovascular benefits and could help reduce cholesterol levels, according to Discovery Health.
Onions contain phytochemicals called flavonoids, which contain antioxidant properties that may help protect the body against the damaging effects of free radicals. These harmful substances make their way into your body through exposure to car exhaust, cigarette smoke and other pollutants, but antioxidants may be able to help combat them.
According to The George Mateljan Foundation, the best way to get the full health benefits of onions is to peel off as little of the fleshy, edible portion as you can when removing the onion's outermost papery layer. Over-peeling can reduce the amount of flavonoids you're getting, so try to keep as much of the onion intact as possible.
Vitamin C, fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and folate can also be found in onions, all of which are important nutrients. Furthermore, onions have been shown to potentially lower the risk of several different types of cancers, such as colorectal, ovarian and laryngeal cancer.
So chow down on this healthy veggie, but be sure to use specialty breath fresheners and alcohol-free mouthwash afterward.