עמוד:8

SECOND PAPER PART I : ACCESS TO INFORMATION FROM WRITTEN TEXTS ( 70 points ) Read the article and answer questions 1-8 . AN ORDINARY VEGETABLE ? If you asked people to name an important vegetable , what answer would you expect ? Probably potatoes , carrots or corn . Not too many people would say onions – a vegetable that makes us cry and gives us bad breath . But according to recent surveys , onions are grown and eaten in more countries than any other vegetable . Onions were one of the very first crops cultivated by man . The ancient Egyptians were already growing onions 5 , 000 years ago . The onion was important in Egyptian religion and culture . With its many layers of circles , it was a symbol of eternal life . Egyptians painted pictures of onions in their pyramids and buried onions with their dead . For the ancient Greeks and Romans , the onion was a food and a medicine . The Greeks believed that onions were the food of champions . Before Olympic competitions , Greek athletes drank onion juice and ate lots of onions . Both the Greeks and the Romans used onions in medicines to treat a variety of illnesses . Onions are still an important food in most parts of the world today – they are grown and eaten in over 175 countries . There are several reasons for this . They grow well in different climates , they are easy to transport and they can stay fresh for a long time . In addition , onions are good for your health . Modern research has proven that the ancient Greeks and Romans were right . The onion is one of the healthiest vegetables in the world . It is low in calories and has a lot of vitamins and minerals . As people search for low-fat , low-salt but tasty meals , they are eating more and more onions . For example , Americans eat 50 % more onions now than they did 10 years ago . With all the benefits of onions , this is a positive trend .

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