5-Minute Health Tip: Eat an Onion

Onions are full of sulphuric compounds that promote heart health, vitamin C that supports a strong immune system, and polyphenols that help prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and neurodegenerative and cardiovascular disorders. Research suggests that onions may:

  • Help nurture beneficial bacteria in your gut for improved gastrointestinal health and immune function
  • Reduce the symptoms of diabetes
  • Lower cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Alleviate the symptoms of osteoporosis and improve bone health
  • Lower the risk of developing cataracts
  • Prevent asthma-related inflammation

Slice an onion up and mix into your favorite salad…add an onion to fresh salsa…bake an onion into cornbread…roast an onion with meat or bake with fish! Just be sure to peel that onion thin, as the outer layer of the onion is believed to be the most nutritious.

Polyphenol Powerhouse health-benefits-of-onions-infographic

Did you know that onions have more polyphenols than garlic or leeks? The most notable flavonoid is quercetin, which has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that quercetin:

  • Acts as an anti-histamine to help prevent allergic reactions
  • Helps lower your risk of death from heart disease
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces the symptoms of prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland)
  • Decreases the risk of lung cancer, particularly among smokers
  • Eases the symptoms of interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome)

Researchers from Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands showed that quercetin absorption from onions is double that from tea and triple that from apples! And because quercetin retains its nutrients when cooked at low-heat, onions are the perfect stock for soup.

Onions also contain the prebiotic inulin. Prebiotics are food for the beneficial bacteria in your gut, and play a large role in proper digestion and immune function. A 2013 study published in the journal Gut suggests that when obese woman consumed inulin they had more healthy bacteria in their gut microbiome, which may help encourage weight loss and lower diabetes risk. Another study in Diabetes and Metabolism Journal showed that women with type 2 diabetes who consumed inulin exhibited improvements in blood sugar control and increased antioxidant activity.

Onions for Heart Health and Cancer Prevention

The sulphur compounds in onions have been shown to help protect heart health by preventing blood clots, lowering cholesterol and triglycerides, and increasing the flexibility of blood vessels by triggering the release of nitric oxide. And according to the National Onion Association, onions even act as an anti-carcinogen. One review showed that people who consumed the most quercetin had a 50% lower risk of cancers of the stomach, alimentary, and respiratory tracts than did people who consumed the least quercetin.

So add some onions into your meals every day if you can. The more you practice the peeling, the more you’ll have it sliced and diced in 5 minutes or less.