Why Do Onions Make You Cry?

Onion is a vegetable that people use in cooking as a cooking ingredient. It is closely related to garlic, Chinese onion, leek and shallot, among other vegetables. In 2014, the countries that produced the most onions were China and India. China produced 25% while India produced 22% of the world’s onions. Crying when cutting onions is the result of reflective tears. Tears are the result of the rupture of onion cells and the subsequent release of lacrimal factor (LF) which is the underlying cause of eye irritation. LF is a defense weapon that onions develop to protect themselves from microbes and animals including humans. However, people choose to endure the “crying”

Health benefits

Onions are known to have medicinal value because the Roman emperor Nero used it to treat colds. It is also thought to have contributed to the prevention of epidemics such as the plague and cholera. Furthermore, onions have a high nutritional value as they contain vitamins A, B6, E and C. They also have natural sugars, potassium, iron, sodium, iron and dietary fiber. Furthermore, onions are an excellent source of folic acid. The enjoyment of most of these health benefits occurs when an individual eats the onion in its raw form. A compound known as allyl propyl disulfide gives its onions its healing properties.

The cause of onion tears

When the onion cells are damaged by crushing, cutting or cutting onions, there is a release of tear-gas synthetase. The enzyme converts the sulfoxide amino acids inside the onion into sulfenic acid. Then a sulfur compound known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide is released into the air. This compound spreads to the eyes and mixes with tears to form sulfuric acid. The burning sensation of sulfuric acid causes the release of tears from the eyes. Tears are the way the eye washes away the irritation caused by the onions. The lacrimal gland in the eyes is responsible for producing the tears.

The onion without tears

Japanese scientists designed the onions without tears. In 2008, the New Zealand Institute for Crop and Food Research successfully created onions “no tears”. They did this using gene silencing biotechnology to prevent the normal synthesis of LF synthase in onions. However, these onions do not have the unique taste on the onions.

How to avoid crying when cutting onions

One should cut the onions in a well-ventilated area, near a fan, if possible. The ventilator will blow the air away from the eyes, dragging the onion molecules away, so that they do not reach the eyes. Another way to avoid crying is to refrigerate the onions before cutting them. Onion molecules are less volatile in their cold state than at room temperature. Thirdly, it can reduce eye irritation by cutting onions under running water or immersing them in water. Water prevents the gas from spreading in the eyes. Finally, the cutting of the onion should be from top to bottom. Onion roots have the highest concentration of enzymes that irritate the eyes. Then cut the onion from the


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