Tears and onions, they go together and that knowledge is no secret to those whose kitchen is a constant visit.
But have you ever wondered why you tear up while cutting onions?
For some people its as if they had gotten the worse beating of their lives.
According to a particular eye doctor Dr. Robert Rosa Jr., an ophthalmologist at the Texas A&M College of Medicine, a particular gas produced by onions is the culprit.
Onions use sulfur in the soil to create amino acid sulfoxides, which are sulfur compounds that readily turn into a gas. When an onion is cut open, it releases the sulfoxides and enzymes, which react and create a gas called syn-propanethial-S-oxide.
“It really is a complicated chemical process that creates the gas,” said Rosa. “They all act as precursors that create the lachrymatory processor — or what makes you tear up.”
“Your eyes have a set of nerves that detect anything that’s potentially harmful to your eyes. Your eyes react to the gas that is formed, and your eyes try to flush it out with tears,” Rosa explained in a school news release.
But not to worry. It is not at all harmful to your eyes or health. In fact the gas is defence mechanism meant to protect the onions from critters that would have loved to end its existence.
“Chopping onions can cause some burning and irritation and tears. Other than that, it’s pretty safe on your eyes. It’s a temporary sensation with no known long-term effects, nor will it worsen any other conditions, like pink eye ,” Rosa said.