Lounge Doctor

Onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, chives and scallions


Nutritional Advisor
Sep 5, 2011
Australia Australia
No special diet or ‘miracle food’ can cure arthritis, but some arthritic conditions may be helped by including certain foods. Arthritis is a general term describing over 100 different conditions that cause pain, stiffness and (often) inflammation in one or more joints. Everyone with arthritis can benefit from eating a healthy, well-balanced diet to maintain general good health.

The Allium family of vegetables, which includes onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, chives, and scallions not only add flavor to your diet, they also add antioxidant compounds. Research suggests that the organosulfur compounds in the Allium family members may also have anti-inflammatory compounds and actions.

Garlic as a medicine has been known for its healing properties since ancient times. Garlic produces a chemical called allicin. This is the active ingredient and is responsible for the smell, but also allicin is the medicinal property. A good tip if you are cooking with garlic is to add some at the beginning of the recipe for the flavor however, to preserve the medicinal property of the garlic (allicin), add a few extra cloves 15 minutes before the end of the cooking period.

One of the main benefits from supplementing your diet with garlic is related to its anti-inflammatory effects. One of the causes of Arthritis is the loss of the lubricating substance between the joints, leading to painful movement, inflammation, and swelling. Garlic is said to reduce this inflammation due to the content of selenium, an antioxidant that may help the inflammation in the joints.

Note: garlic has blood thinning properties, so be cautious with garlic whilst on your anticoagulant meds post surgery. I also do not recommend taking garlic as a supplement without checking with your Doctor as it has been reported to cause anemia.

Selenium also very beneficial for the immune system in general, studies suggest that the body needs selenium in small amounts in order for the immune system to work properly. Selenium, (along with other minerals) can help build up white blood cells, which boosts the body's ability to fight illness and infection.

As the body only requires a small amount of selenium, I do not recommend taking it as a supplement as too much can become toxic. In addition, selenium can interact with certain medications e.g. statins, (cholesterol lowering) where research has indicated that supplementary selenium may reduce the effectiveness of this class of drugs.

It is preferable to obtain your selenium by including onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, chives, and scallions in your balanced diet.

There are so many ways to include this family of vegetables into your diet.... Leek and Potato soup, French Onion soup, add garlic chives to your salads, Chinese recipes, add a few snips of garlic chives the next time you’re preparing scrambled eggs or an omelette, or substitute them for regular chives in a recipe for herbed bread. When thinking onions, don't forget red onions, they are rich in flavonoids, especially Quercetin, known to reduce allergic responses and boost your immunity.


More about the wonderful world of flavonoids in my next article, so look out for that!

Disclaimer: The information on dietary factors, foods, and beverages contained in this article does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects, and interactions. It is not intended as medical advice for individual problems. Liability for individual actions or omissions based upon the contents of this article is expressly disclaimed. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions including the taking of supplements.


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