14 Health Benefits of Onions

Our relationship with onion is totally a love-hate situation. We adore the fact that it gives any home-cooked meal an extra zing and boost of taste. We detest the fact that it doesn’t leave us with the best-smelling breath it the world and it even makes us cry (when we slice it up). Nevertheless, we always have an onion or two in our homes and we always end up using them for meals. Let’s face it: what home-made goodies for main courses prepared in the oven taste the same without onion? This layered veggie always lets us benefit from a natural flavoring for any type of dish made at home and makes soup even more delicious to enjoy. Aside from tasting wonderful, onions also come with a wide variety of nutrients and health benefits that you probably didn’t know about, whether you enjoy them raw or cooked. We have prepared a list with some of the most interesting and useful ones below so you can reconsider adding more onions to your diet and meals. Without further ado, here are 14 health benefits of onions. Enjoy and have fun cooking!

Our List of the Best Health Benefits of Onions


1. Fight Off Fever

Onions simply ooze with nutrients. One of the most significant nutrients found in red and yellow onions is quercitin. In case you didn’t know, quercitin is an amazing flavonoid with huge antioxidant properties. Thanks to the high levels of quercitin, certain types of onion have the power to help you fight off fever, as well as bronchitis and asthma. In the case of fever, cut up a few slices of onion, place them in a pair of socks and put them on your feet. The burning sensation caused by the fever will wear off in no time.

2. Phytonutrients

One of the greatest health benefits of onions is their amazing amounts of phytonutrients. For those of you who don’t know, phytonutrients (or phytochemicals) are “bioactive plant-derived compounds associated with positive health effects”. When it comes to onions, these layered bulbs are completely packed with polyphenols, which are one of the greatest types of phytonutrients that can be found in food. Flavonoids, which we spoke about above, are part of the polyphenol family. Onions are so rich in polyphenol phytonutrients that they even contain more than garlic, carrots or tomatoes. Start fighting off diseases!

3. Healthy Skin, Healthy Hair

Among countless other benefits, onions also aid you in maintaining both healthy hair and skin. This is all thanks to their high levels of Vitamin C, which promote the production of collagen. Collagen needs to be continuously built up in order for the body to supply healthy skin cells and strong hair. Consider eating more onions and enjoy smooth skin and shining hair.

Healthy and fresh onions of all colors, health benefits of onions
Healthy and fresh onions of all colors

4. Heart Protection

If you include more onions into your diet, you are lowering your risk of developing various cardiovascular diseases. If you regularly eat onions, as well as other flavonoid-filled fruits and vegetables, you will be preventing potential heart attacks (which we all know can be fatal) and you will be protecting your blood vessels. This is owing to the fact that flavonoids come with a wide series of health benefits on their own.

5. Cure Colds & Coughs

One of the most popular health benefits of onions is curing colds and coughs. Personally, I remember my mother making me onion tea whenever I had a cough and, even though it was difficult to swallow, it actually worked after a couple of days of use. The secret that my mother used was to boil the outer layers of red onions, which are very well-known for fighting off common respiratory diseases. The power to cure colds and coughs is also thanks to the anti-bacterial properties that onions possess, which keep you away from infections.

6. Raw vs Cooked

Generally speaking, it is indicated to consume onions under any form, no matter if they are raw or cooked. Nevertheless, onions are best eaten raw, as the human body can fully benefit from all of their properties this way. You can cut up a few slices of raw onion and use them to serve alongside a sandwich or next to your home-cooked meal. Alternatively, you can cut up a few pieces of raw green onion, also known as scallions, and add them to your fresh salad this summer. Not only will you enjoy an extra zing and sense of crispness, but you will also be enjoying all of the health benefits that raw onions have to offer.

7. Antioxidant

You should know that onions are also rich in antioxidant properties. These properties, in particular, are connected to the health of your heart, as they are critical for protecting it from disease. Surprisingly enough, onions are actually one of the foods that are the richest in antioxidants. Another fun fact is that the antioxidants in onions are actually the ones that give onions their specific taste and aroma. In addition to this, the antioxidants included in onions can even help you ward off cancer.  We will be discussing more about this subject in a separate spot below.

8. Immunity Boost

Among the many super foods out there that build up your immunity, onions are one of the best. The phytonutrients that we spoke about in the first part of this article boost your immune system and help you steer clear of infections and diseases. Additionally, the antioxidant properties are also a key factor for a healthy immune system. The flavonoids included in onions play a significant role when it comes to boosting immunity.

9. Antibacterial

According to Foods-Healing-Power.com, onions “have potent antibacterial activity, destroying many disease-causing pathogens, including E. coli and salmonella”. This is, yet again, thanks to the quercetin flavonoids included in onions, but also to the compounds that contain sulfur. These antibacterial properties will help you stay away from tooth cavities and other types of diseases in the oral cavity. Research has proven that these antibacterial properties work best when the onions are both uncooked and fresh, as opposed to being left at room temperature for a day or two.

10. Detox

Onions offer a fantastic alternative for detoxification. Onions contain amino acids which include sulfur and work great for detoxifying your system. Cystine and methionine amino acids, in particular, are wonderful for a natural detox.  Another nutrient included in onions is Vitamin C, which is one of the best sidekicks for detox. The Vitamin C content is so high, in fact, that it can help your body remove dangerous metals, such as cadmium, lead or arsenic.

11. Anti-inflammatory

Inflammations, be gone! With the help of onions, you benefit from amazing anti-inflammatory properties. The antioxidants that onions contain are perfect for fighting off inflammations, by stopping our body’s fatty acids from oxidation. According to a study conducted by the International Archives of Allergy and Applied Immunology, via LiveScience.com, the sulfurs in onions act as “effective anti-inflammatory agents”. Furthermore, the flavonoids in onions (especially quercetin), can help with asthma patients.

12. Cancer Prevention

Whoever thought that you could avoid cancer by simply consuming more onions? Countless studies point out that onions can help you prevent various types of cancer, such as lung, ovarian, breast, prostate or colon cancer, by fending off the hazardous cells. Some of the best kinds of onions that you can consume to avoid developing cancer are red onions, as they have the highest amounts of quercetin out of all onions. If you cannot find red onions, you can consume yellow ones or shallots. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition points out that flavonoids help your body avoid cancer by “inhibiting xanthine oxidase, an enzyme that produces free radicals that can damage DNA and cellular tissue”.

13. Battle Depression

Depression is certainly one of the most common and dreadful conditions in modern-day society. Even though people tend to overthink the impact that depression can have on both your mind and your body, untreated depression can develop into serious mental diseases, such as bipolar or even schizophrenia. Luckily enough, a healthy intake of onions can help you sleep better and be in a more cheerful mood, ultimately resulting in the prevention and / or treatment of depression. In order to stay away from depression you are going to need to rest well at night, so reconsider including onions in your diet as often as you can.

14. See Clear

Although many people believe that carrots are the best super-food when it comes down to healthy vision, little do they know that onions are equally potent. Green onions, in particular, act as an excellent home remedy for great vision. The high levels of Vitamin A included in onions help your body produce an essential protein for eye health: rhodopsin. If you don’t consume as much vitamin A as you should, you could damage your eyesight so much that you could even end up blind. Make sure to consume Vitamin A regularly by adding onions to your meals.

Health Benefits of Onions: Conclusion

The health benefits of onions are quite impressive.

Onions are filled with nutrients and contain powerful compounds which may decrease the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.

They also have antibacterial properties within them which can help to improve the function of the immune system, as well as promote digestive health.

Onions are also a very versatile vegetable and can be used to improve the flavor of many savory dishes.

Adding more onions to your regular balanced diet is a great way to benefit your health overall.

Do you have any specific recipes containing onions that you would like to share with us? We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Please leave us a comment in the comments section below this article.

Photo credits: Veggiegardener.com, Bestherbalhealth.com.