Why do we have to cry when we cut onions?

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Why do we have to cry when we cut onions? Here you get the answer to the question!

We’ve all been there: you peel an onion, start cutting it, and almost immediately feel an irritating, burning sensation in your eyes. It’s not uncommon to begin crying shortly after these initial symptoms. But why do you think this reaction when you start cutting the onion and not while it is still in one piece?

Chemistry is the solution to the riddle
The answer is simple: when you start cutting the onion, you break its molecular structure, and a toxic chemical reaction is immediately triggered.

When peeling and cutting, the cells are torn apart, and different components are mixed, leading to chain reactions. Onions can store the sulphur from the soil in their skin and inside. When the knife blade reaches the vacuole (the heart of the onion), these sulphur compounds are released into the air.

When these compounds recognize the onion’s alliinase enzymes, and the whole thing comes into contact with the outside air, an irritating gas called sulfuric acid is released. Another enzyme, LF synthetase, then converts the acid into potential S-oxide.

When these acids come into contact with the tear fluid, a small amount of sulfuric acid is produced. The mixture is not lethal, but it is enough to irritate the eyes and make them weep. And the more tear fluid, the more acid and tears in the eyes.

Tips to avoid tearing
How to avoid this unpleasant feeling? Only three methods are effective:

Peel the onion under a stream of water or in a bowl of water: the water from the tap or in the bowl prevents the gases from rising into the air;
Put the onion in a cool place for a few hours before cutting: the enzymes are usually neutralized, and this prevents the tears;
Wear goggles: even if it seems ridiculous to wear goggles when cutting an onion, it is still effective because the gas cannot come into contact with the lacrimal fluid.

What tricks from grandma do not help
For example, cutting onions with a mouthful of water.
Cutting an onion with a match in your mouth with the sulphur side out is also ineffective.
Rather, stick to the other tips above.

Onions are good for you.
Despite this unpleasant effect of peeling, it would be a shame to give up onions. Studies have shown that vegetables from the Alliaceae family, which includes onions, can reduce the risk of stomach and colon cancer.

Thanks to their ability to reduce platelet clumping, these vegetables can also help protect against certain lung diseases and cardiovascular diseases such as thrombosis.

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