The Health Benefits of Onions


Onions are often chided for their ability to induce tears. However, next time you're chopping onions, consider the tears to be tears of joy when you consider the health benefits derived from eating onions. Substances in onions have been shown to promote heart health, reduce cancer risk, promote both digestive and bone health and reduce the effects of inflammatory diseases.

Healthy Substances

  • Onions are a rich source of quercetin and chromium. Quercetin is a potent antioxidant that combats a variety of illnesses. Chromium is a substance that helps to maintain proper hormonal balance in the body.

Heart-Health Benefits

  • Onions contain flavonoids, substances that promote heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Anti-Cancer Benefits

  • Research published in the journal "Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology" indicates that quercetin reduces the size and amount of precancerous lesions in the intestinal tract. Onions with the highest anti-cancer properties include shallots, western yellow, New York bold and northern red onions.

Digestive Health

  • Onions contain prebiotics. These substances help to encourage the growth of good bacteria (probiotics) in the digestive system, which helps to promote proper digestive function.

Bone Health

  • Research published in the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry" indicates that onions contain a substance called growth plate chondrocytes (GPCS), which promotes bone health by preventing the function of osteoclasts, cells that break down bone tissue.

Anti-inflammatory Benefits

  • The quercetin and vitamin C found in onions, along with other substances, help promote a healthy immune system. These substances also act as anti-inflammatory agents, which reduce the effect of inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

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  • Photo Credit Jon Sullivan,
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