Onions may make you cry, but there is an upside to those tears. The same substances that give onions their pungency are believed to help fight cancer.

A recent study from the National Cancer Institute found that individuals who ate the most allium vegetables (onions, scallions, garlic, chives and leeks) had a nearly 50 percent lower cancer risk than those who ate the least. Some laboratory studies have shown that the natural substances in these vegetables have anti-tumor effects. Other studies link the veggies with a lower risk of cancer of the colon, stomach, prostate, esophagus, breast and endometrium (lining of the uterus).

Onions, an underground bulb related to the lily, are prized in most cultures for the flavor and piquancy they add to a wide variety of dishes. Because onions are available year round, they can be used in many dishes in all seasons.

Onions come in many sizes, shapes and flavors. Mild-flavored onions include the white or yellow Bermuda onion, yellow Spanish onion, red onion and pearl onion. The stronger-flavored globe onion can have a yellow, red, or white skin. Special varieties include the sweet Vidalia onion from Georgia.

When buying onions, choose those that are heavy for their size, with papery, dry skin and no scent or moistness. Strong-smelling onions have probably been bruised. Also, avoid onions that have started to sprout, as they are well past their prime.

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Onions add a subtle taste to this poached fish dish, which also contains delicate hints of citrus and herbs. Cooked in a microwave, this entr�e requires very little preparation time.

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Steamed Fish with Yogurt Dill Sauce

Makes 4 servings.

  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp. dried dill, divided
  • 1 1/2 lbs. firm-fleshed fish fillet like halibut, cod, or salmon, cut in 4 pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 2 orange or yellow bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped (green part included)
  • 1 large lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup low-fat, plain yogurt
  • 4 sprigs fresh dill for garnish (optional)


  1. In a small bowl, mix together oil, chives, basil and half the dill. Rub mixture into both sides of fish, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Mix remaining dill with yogurt and set sauce aside.
  3. In a large, deep-rimmed serving dish large enough to hold the fish and broth, arrange bell peppers and scallions evenly along bottom. Place fish on top. Arrange lemon slices on top of fish. Add broth. Place in microwave and cook at medium power, checking every few minutes, until fish flakes with a fork.
  4. Remove from microwave and garnish with remaining dill. Serve with yogurt-dill sauce.

Nutritional Info Per Serving:
305 calories,
11 g. total fat (2 g. saturated fat),
12 g. carbohydrate,
38 g. protein,
2 g. dietary fiber,
184 mg. sodium

Diabetic Exchanges:
4 Very Lean Meat, 2 Vegetable