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For a long life, eat your reds

KNOWING YOUR onions could be the secret to a long and healthy life, according to scientists who have discovered that the humble onion contains high levels of chemical compounds that protect against heart disease and cancer.

Red onions, cherry tomatoes and that doyen of the dinner party, lollo rosso lettuce, contain significant amounts of flavonols, anti-oxidants which protect against cell decay.

By contrast, the big tomatoes and white onions favoured by British shoppers contain few flavonols, which may go some way to explaining why the Mediterranean diet is often mooted as the reason for southern Europeans' longevity.

The research, conducted by the team of food scientists from the University of Glasgow, also reaffirmed the value of regular wine drinking. Italian scientists have already claimed that one and a half daily glasses of red wine will stave off ailments including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease. The Glasgow team have established that Chilean reds are the richest source of flavonols.

Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon was found to have 40mg of flavonols per litre, compared with just 5mg per litre in some Bulgarian red wines.