Are Onions Good for You?

Some people eat them raw or mix them with salads, and others cook or fry them together with beef, vegetables, chicken, pork, or lamb. Onions have got so many health benefits. Chemical compounds from onions have anticarcinogenic properties, antiplatelet activity, antithrombotic activity, antiasthmatic, and antibiotic effects.

Onions are a good source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are chemical compounds that prevent free radicals from damaging your cells. They inhibit oxidation. By so doing, they reduce your risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

Onions contain more than 25 different types of flavonoid antioxidants. In addition to containing flavonoids, they also have alkyl cysteine sulphoxides. Flavonoid subgroups in onions include quercetin and its derivatives, and anthocyanins. Anthocyanins make some onion varieties red or purple in color. You can also get anthocyanin supplements like these from Amazon. Quercetin and its derivatives give the yellow and brown colors to other onion varieties. There are also quercetin capsules on Amazon.

In an attempt to understand the unique dietary flavonoids in onions, Rune Slimestad, Torgils Fossen, and Ingunn Molund Vagen, 2007, reviewed scientific papers on quantitative and qualitative information about flavonoids reported in onion bulbs. They found out that at least 25 different flavonoids were reported and quercetin and its derivatives were the most important flavonoids in onions.

Anthocyanins are a subgroup of flavonoids that make some onions have a red or purple color. They are colored water-soluble pigments that belong to the phenolic group. They are also found in berries, currants, grapes, and some tropical fruits. Anthocyanidins and anthocyanins have got antioxidative and antimicrobial activities, they improve visual and neurological health, and they protect you against many different non-communicable diseases.

To clearly understand the role of anthocyanidins and anthocyanins as natural food colorants and their nutraceutical properties for health, Hock Eng Khoo and colleagues, 2017, carried out a critical review of the published scientific papers on the health benefits of anthocyanidins and anthocyanins. They concluded that anthocyanins have got many health benefits including improvement of visual ability, and neuroprotective effect. Furthermore, they prevent diseases like cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, some metabolic diseases, and microbial infection.

Aedin Cassidy and colleagues, 2016, examined the relationship between habitual anthocyanin and flavanone intake and coronary artery disease and strokes in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. The researchers found out that higher consumption of fruit-based flavonoids like anthocyanin and quercetin were associated with a lower risk of nonfatal myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke in men. However, more studies need to be done especially clinical trials and mechanistic studies to understand the differential benefits of anthocyanin-and flavanone-rich foods on cardiovascular health.

Aedin Cassidy and colleagues, 2013, examined the association between high anthocyanin intake and a reduced risk of myocardial infarction in young and middle-aged women. They found out that a high intake of anthocyanins may lower the risk of myocardial infarction in predominantly young women. However, there is a need for intervention trials to investigate further the health impact of increasing intakes of commonly eaten anthocyanin-rich foods.

Anthocyanins have preventive and therapeutic potentials in diabetes and associated complications. Swathi Putta and colleagues, 2018, critically reviewed and then summarized the effect of many anthocyanins on many in-vitro, in-vivo and clinical studies, and also revealed the mechanisms which could prevent or reverse the underlying mechanisms of diabetic pathologies including the promotion of antioxidant, antihyperlipidemic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic activities. They concluded that “the versatility of the anthocyanins provides a promising approach for diabetes management than synthetic drugs.”

Bo-Wen Lin and colleagues, 2017, critically reviewed published peer-reviewed articles about the effects of anthocyanins on the prevention and treatment of cancer. They concluded that “the anticancer effect of anthocyanins differs according to the different substituents on their B‐rings. Anthocyanins with ortho‐dihydroxy-phenyl on their B‐rings show the most obvious anticancer activity. Increasing evidence indicates that the main molecular mechanism of their antitumor effects lies in inhibiting the cancer cell growth and metastasis by targeting RTKs (EGFR, PDGFR, and VEGF/VEGFR) by acting on Ras‐MAPK and PI3K/Akt signal cascade pathways.”


Eating onions regularly has got so many health benefits including prevention against cancer, good heart health, prevention against diabetes, the benefit of the best visual talent, and prevention against cardiovascular diseases. However, there are people who are allergic to onions. These people may have red, itchy eyes, and rashes when an onion comes in contact with their skin. Some people have side effects after eating onions. Onion intolerance causes you to have nausea, vomit, and also have gastric discomfort.


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