Health Benefits of Onions – Over 10 Reasons to Love Onions

health benefits of onions

health benefits of onionsIf you habitually separate the onions in your food because you do not want to eat them, then it’s time for you to change your ways. There are simply too many health benefits of onions for you not to eat them! Many foods act as overall health boosters simply from consumption – onions are in this healthful food group.

Nutritional Content of Onions:

When compared to some other fruit and vegetables, onions just don’t seem to offer the most powerful nutritional punch, but the vegetables certainly still has much to offer. Here are some prominent vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients found in onions that deserve some spotlight. Each figure is based on a serving of 1 large onion (150 grams).

  • Vitamin C – 11.1 milligrams. 19% RDA (recommended daily value).
  • Manganese – 0.2 milligrams. 10% RDA.
  • Fiber – 2.6 grams. 10% RDA.
  • Vitamin B6 – 0.2 milligrams. 9% RDA.
  • Folate – 28.5 micrograms. 7% RDA.
  • Potassium – 219 milligrams. 6% RDA.

In addition to the above nutrients, there are a number of other chemical constituents that can be found in onions. Out of them all two powerful antioxidants stand out above the rest: quercetin and sulfur. In fact, onions are among the top dietary sources of quercetin. (Check out the USDA Nutrient Database for a complete nutritional profile of onions.)

Health Benefits of Onions

Here are some of the common health benefits of onions.

  • Better Oral Health — This may seem odd since onions can cause bad breath, but chewing raw onion is known to improve the strength of the teeth and fight off bacteria which can cause tooth decay. Chewing some raw onion for 2 or 3 minutes could kill most germs in the mouth.
  • Prevents Colon Cancer — A particular plant-derived flavonoid in onions, called quercetin, boosts the immune system while preventing the development of tumors. One study found that combining chemicals found in onions and turmeric reduced both the size and number of precancerous lesions in the human intestinal tract.
  • Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Microbial Ingredients — Sulphides and thiosulfinates help to prevent illnesses such as E. coli, bacillus subtilis and salmonella.
  • Detoxing – Two sulfur-containing amino acids – methionine and cystine – are great for removing heavy metals like mercury, lead, and cadmium from the body. Additionally, vitamin C, which is also in onions, aids in the detoxing process.
  • Cardiovascular Improvement — Onions help to prevent the formation of blood clots, allowing blood to circulate smoothly. Without the clogs and clots in arteries, heart attack and heart disease risks drop. Further, sulfur compounds in onion can improve red blood cells’ cell membrane function and lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Quercetin, found in onions, is also known to lower blood pressure, which boosts cardiovascular health. The health benefits of onions are starting to look quite appealing.
  • Osteoporosis – In a 2005 study, researchers found that a compound in onions, GPCS, was able to decrease bone loss in rats, helping to prevent osteoporosis.
  • Lower Blood Sugar, Helps with Diabetes — Onions contain a compound called allyl propyl disulphide (APDS), which harnesses blood sugar-lowering effects. One study found that “The administration of allyl propyl disulphide (APDS), a volatile substance contained in onion…caused a significant fall in the blood glucose levels and a significant rise in the serum insulin levels…” Onions are also high in chromium, a mineral which helps cells respond to glucose.
  • Sinus Relief — For a clogged nose and sinusitis problems, onions can help to loosen mucous, clearing the nasal passages and making breathing easier.
  • Use Onions for an Earache – Try cooking an union until soft by boiling it in water or heating it in a toaster oven, then place it on a cloth and then on your ear. A variation on this would be to cut the onion in a checkerboard-pattern about a 1/4 inch deep. Cutting the onion allows the juice to diffuse. Helping to ease pain and dizziness, onions make up one option for home remedies for earaches.
  • Bee Bites and Stings – Further adding to the health benefits of onions, the vegetable could even be used for bee bites and bee stings. Try applying chopped onion or onion juice to the area for immediate pain relief.

An Onion Benefits Summary – Onions are Great for:

  • Preventing cancer
  • Promoting oral health
  • Lowering blood pressure (quercetin)
  • Boosting heart, cardiovascular health
  • Fighting inflammation
  • Earaches
  • Detoxing the body
  • Aiding osteoporosis
  • Promoting digestive health (fiber)
  • Protecting against DNA damage
  • Promoting a healthy pregnancy (folate, vitamin C)
  • Boosting the immune system (vitamin C)
  • Promoting beautiful skin (vitamin C)
  • Preventing and treating respiratory issues (vitamin C)

Remember to let your friends and family know of the many health benefits of onions, and to include the vegetable in your diet more often!

Additional Sources:




University of Maryland Medical Center