There are many types of Onions that vary in size, shape, color, and flavor. But, the most common types are red, yellow, and white onions. The taste of these vegetables can range from sweet and juicy to sharp, spicy, and pungent. Often, depending on the season in which people grow and consume them.
In general, onions belong to the Allium family of plants, which also includes chives, garlic, and leeks. And though all vegetables are important for health, certain kinds offer unique benefits. These vegetables have characteristic pungent flavors and some medicinal properties.
Notably, farmers have cultivated allium vegetables for centuries. And according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, China is the biggest producer of onions worldwide.
These vegetables contain various vitamins, minerals, and potent plant compounds that have been shown to promote health in many ways.
Why are Onions important?
First, they are a nutrient-dense food, meaning that they are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants while being low in calories.
One cup of chopped onion provides:
- 64 calories
- 14.9 grams (g) of carbohydrate
- 0.16 g of fat
- 0 g of cholesterol
- 2.72 g of fiber
- 6.78 g of sugar
- 1.76 g of protein
Secondly, they are a good source of the following nutrients.
According to the recommended daily allowance (RDA) and adequate intake (AI) values:
|Nutrient||Percentage of the daily requirement in adults|
|Vitamin C (RDA)||13.11% for males and 15.73% for females|
|Vitamin B-6 (RDA)||11.29–14.77%, depending on age|
|Manganese (AI)||8.96% for males and 11.44% for females|
In addition, they also contain small amounts of:
What are the Health Benefits of Onions?
Of course, it is common knowledge that chopping onions cause watery eyes. However, onions may also provide potential health benefits. These may include reducing the risk of several types of cancer, improving mood, and maintaining skin and hair health.
In fact, the medicinal properties of onions have been recognized since ancient times, when they were used to treat ailments like headaches, heart disease, and mouth sores.
Also as a good source of vitamin C, onions may support the building and maintenance of collagen. Whereby, collagen provides structure to skin and hair. With this in mind, let’s look at more benefits below;
1. Provides recommended Nutrients
Onions are nutrient-dense, meaning they’re low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals.
One cup of chopped onions also provides at least 13.11% of an adult’s recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. And as an antioxidant, this vitamin helps counter the formation of free radical compounds that have links to cancer.
They are also rich in B vitamins, including folate (B9) and pyridoxine (B6) — which play key roles in metabolism, red blood cell production, and nerve function.
And lastly, they’re a good source of potassium, a mineral in which many people are lacking.
2. They are loaded with Antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation, a process that leads to cellular damage and contributes to diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Onions are an excellent source of antioxidants. In fact, they contain over 25 different varieties of flavonoid antioxidants.
Red onions, in particular, contain anthocyanins — special plant pigments in the flavonoid family that give red onions their deep color.
Multiple population studies have found that people who consume more foods rich in anthocyanins have a reduced risk of heart disease.
3. Helps in Cancer prevention
Researchers have examined allium vegetables extensively in relation to cancer, especially stomach and colorectal cancers.
A 2019 study in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology compared 833 people with colorectal cancer with 833 people who did not have the disease.
The researchers found that the risk of colorectal cancer was 79% lower in those who regularly consumed allium vegetables, such as onions.
Experts do not fully understand the exact mechanism by which some compounds in onions inhibit cancer. Some hypothesize that onions inhibit tumor growth and cell mutation.
The authors note that there are compounds called organosulfur in onions, some of which suppressed aspects of tumor growth. However, they conclude that not all organosulfur have antioxidant properties.
4. Benefits your Heart Health
Onions contain antioxidants and compounds that fight inflammation, decrease triglycerides, and reduce cholesterol levels — all of which may lower heart disease risk.
Their potent anti-inflammatory properties may also help reduce high blood pressure and protect against blood clots.
Quercetin is a flavonoid antioxidant that’s highly concentrated in onions. Since it’s a potent anti-inflammatory, it may help decrease heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure.
5. Helps in Blood Pressure moderation
However, the study did not examine the potential effects on the blood pressure of eating onion as part of the diet rather than taking quercetin in supplement form.
A study in 54 women with the polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) found that consuming large amounts of raw red onions (40–50 grams/day if overweight and 50–60 grams/day if obese) for eight weeks reduced total and “bad” LDL cholesterol compared to a control group.
They have also been shown to decrease cholesterol levels.
6. Helps control Blood Sugar
Eating onions may help control blood sugar, which is especially significant for people with diabetes or prediabetes.
Specific compounds found in onions, such as quercetin and sulfur compounds, possess antidiabetic effects.
For example, quercetin has been shown to interact with cells in the small intestine, pancreas, skeletal muscle, fat tissue, and liver to control whole-body blood sugar regulation.
A study in 42 people with type 2 diabetes demonstrated that eating 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of fresh red onion reduced fasting blood sugar levels by about 40 mg/dl after four hours.
7. They have Antibacterial Properties
Onions can fight potentially dangerous bacteria, such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), and Bacillus cereus.
Furthermore, onion extract has been shown to inhibit the growth of Vibrio cholerae. A bacteria that is a major public health concern in the developing world.
H. pylori is a bacteria associated with stomach ulcers and certain digestive cancers, while MRSA is an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that causes infections in different parts of the body. Quercetin extracted from onions seems to be a particularly powerful way to fight bacteria.
8. Helps boost your Digestive System
Onions are a rich source of fiber and prebiotics, which are necessary for optimal gut health.
They are particularly rich in prebiotic inulin and fructooligosaccharides. These help increase the number of friendly bacteria in your gut and improve immune function.
Prebiotics are nondigestible types of fiber that are broken down by beneficial gut bacteria. Gut bacteria feed on prebiotics and create short-chain fatty acids — including acetate, propionate, and butyrate.
Additionally, consuming foods rich in prebiotics helps increase probiotics, such as Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria strains, which benefit digestive health.
9. Helps boost your Bone Density
Though dairy gets much of the credit for boosting bone health, many other foods, including onions, may help support strong bones.
It’s believed that onions help reduce oxidative stress, boost antioxidant levels, and decrease bone loss, which may prevent osteoporosis and boost bone density.
A study in 24 middle-aged and postmenopausal women showed that those who consumed 3.4 ounces (100 ml) of onion juice daily for eight weeks had improved bone mineral density. As well as antioxidant activity compared to a control group.
A diet rich in prebiotics may help improve the absorption of important minerals like calcium, which may improve bone health.
10. They are easy to add to your diet
Onions are a staple in kitchens around the world.
They give flavor to savory dishes and can be enjoyed either raw or cooked.
Not to mention, they can boost your intake of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
How do I add Onions in my Diet?
As can be seen, the health benefits related to onions are quite impressive. For instance, these nutrient-packed vegetables contain powerful compounds that may decrease your risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
They also have antibacterial properties and promote digestive health, which may improve immune function. And what’s more, they’re versatile! And can be used to heighten the flavor of any savory dish. So, adding more onions to your diet is an easy way to benefit your overall health.
Here is how to add them on your diet;
- Use raw onions to add a kick of flavor to your guacamole recipe.
- Add caramelized onions to savory baked goods.
- Combine cooked onions with other vegetables for a healthy side dish.
- Try adding cooked onions to egg dishes, such as omelets, frittatas or quiches.
- Top meat, chicken, or tofu with sauteed onions.
- Add thinly sliced red onions to your favorite salad.
- Make a fiber-rich salad with chickpeas, chopped onions, and red peppers.
- Use onion and garlic as a base for stocks and soups.
- Throw onions into stir-fry dishes.
- Top tacos, fajitas, and other Mexican dishes with chopped raw onions.
- Make a homemade salsa with onions, tomatoes, and fresh cilantro.
- Prepare a hearty onion and vegetable soup.
- Add onions to chili recipes for a flavor boost.
- Blend raw onions with fresh herbs, vinegar, and olive oil for a tasty homemade salad dressing.
That’s it! And in short, onions can easily be added to savory dishes, including eggs, guacamole, meat dishes, soups, and baked goods.
It is important to realize, onions pose few risks to the people who eat them.
However, some people may have an allergy or intolerance to onions. Anyone who experiences a reaction after eating them should be sure to seek medical attention.
Equally important, before I conclude, it is important to realize, you can Buy Organic Red Onion, One Large Online through Amazon.
Here are more useful topic links;
- Antioxidants Food Sources | How Do They Benefit Us?
- Bone Broth | Why is It so Important to Health?
- Fruits and Vegetables that You Should be Eating Everyday
- Clean Eating | What Are Its Health & Wellness Benefits
- Carrot | 14 Health Benefits to Our Health & Wellness
You can also read and learn more about Using Raw Onions in Salads.