Why it pays to know your onions if you want to beat brain drain

CHOPPING them may make you cry and they can leave you with pungent breath, but onions may also improve your memory, scientists said today.

Researchers at Hokkaido Tokai University in Japan have found that people suffering from memory loss who ate the vegetable, which had been lightly cooked, found it improved their recall abilities. Experts believe the findings could be important in the fight against brain diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

The researchers discovered an antioxidant in onions that binds with harmful toxins in the brain and flushes them out of the body. The compound, which contains sulphur, is found in many members of the allum family, including garlic.

Ian Marber, a health journalist and author, said: "Onions are one of the richest and most readily available sources of sulphur-containing compounds which have been shown to slow down the deterioration of memory usually associated with ageing. "Onion extract has also been shown to maintain the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is involved in processing emotions as well as memory."

But he warned that onions that are over-cooked may lose their memory-helping properties. They should instead be cooked on a low heat.

Jim Jackson, the chief executive of Alzheimer Scotland, said he was not convinced that eating onions would have an impact on the disease.

Source - Scotsman

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