Registered nutritionist Jo Lewin advises top top the the nutritional benefits and medicinal properties of the humble onion.

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What space onions?

Onions space botanically component of the lily (Liliaceae) family, in addition to garlic, shallots and leeks. Although no valued as highly as garlic, onions save on computer potent compounds i beg your pardon are recognized to benefit health.


Onions type the communication of a wide selection of dishes, whether eaten raw, sautéed, baked, steamed or boiled.

Discover ours full variety of health benefit guides or examine out several of our best onion recipes, indigenous our tangy red onion chutney to our can be fried makeover onion tart.


Nutritional file of onions

An 80g serving of onion (raw) provides:

28kcal / 120kj0.8g protein6.4g carbohydrate5.0g sugars1.8g fibre2.0mg vitamin C

One medium onion or 80g counts as one portion of her five-a-day. Take a look in ~ our printable infographic come discover what counts towards your five-a-day.


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Top 5 health benefits of onions

1. Wealthy in antioxidant compounds

Onions space loaded with plant chemicals including flavonoids, which have actually both one antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect. As soon as consumed regularly and in adequate quantity, these compounds may help protect against chronic problems such together cancer and diabetes. In fact, onions contain end 25 various flavonoids and also are among the wealthiest sources in our diets.

Onions additionally have sulfur-containing compounds, which have been demonstrated to be protective against specific cancers. 

2. May support love health

One that the flavonoids in onions, quercetin, has protective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and it’s thought this, and other advantageous compounds current in onions, may add to the vegetable’s heart-friendly properties.

Studies suggest eating onions may assist reduce your danger of heart disease by lowering blood pressure, managing cholesterol levels and also reducing inflammation.

3. May support bone health

Including onions in the diet is linked with boosted bone density. This might be due to the fact that of their antioxidant properties, i m sorry reduces oxidative stress and appears to minimize bone loss.

A research looking at the effect on peri- and post-menopausal females reported that regular onion usage decreased the risk of i know well fracture. A additional study on middle-aged women verified onion juice intake reduced bone loss and also improved bone density.

4. Might support gut health

Onions space rich in fibre, especially the non-digestible kind that is essential to preserve gut health. Although we can’t digest prebiotic fibre, the bacteria the live in our gut do and also they usage it together fuel to assist increase their numbers and produce spin-offs called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Research shows that this SCFAs are crucial for maintaining the health and also integrity of the gut and supporting ours immunity and digestion.

5. Antibacterial

Used in folk medicine because that the relief the coughs, colds and catarrh, research studies support that onions have beneficial antibacterial properties against the likes the Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphyloccus aureus. What’s more, it’s older, save on computer onions that appear most potent. When again, it seems quercetin is of value here, because it has the power to inhibit the development of Helicobacter pylori and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).


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How to select and store

Globe onions should be clean and hard and have dry, smooth skins. Stop onions v a developed seed stem and also those that show signs that decay. Onions should be stored at room temperature, away from shining light and in a well-ventilated area. Those that are much more pungent in flavour, such together yellow onions, will certainly keep longer than those v a sweeter taste, such together white onions, due to the fact that the compounds that create the spicy taste are organic preservatives. Every onions must be stored away from potatoes, together they will certainly absorb their moisture and also ethylene gas, causing potatoes to spoil an ext easily. Perform not save cooked onions in a metal bowl or warehouse container, as this will cause them to discolour. Freezing chopped onions will cause them to lose much of your flavour.

The compound allyl sulphate, i beg your pardon is produced when one onion's ruptured cells space exposed to air, is responsible for developing tears. To minimize the manufacturing of this compound, cool the onions because that 30 minutes or so prior to cutting to mitigate the activity of the enzyme.

Recipe suggestions

Onions feature as the basis of many standard recipes worldwide. Right here are simply a few ideas:

Cheese & onion is a partnership not simply for crisps:Easy cheese & onion sliceCheese & onion pork chopsCaramelised onion & feta pizzasCheese & onion soufflé tart

Onion transforms gravy:Sausages through sticky onion gravySausages with quick onion gravy

Raw onions for the brave and the bold:Tuna & red onion saladTomato & onion salad

Onion soups:Pea, mint & spring onion soup v Parmesan biscuitsCaramelised onion & barley soup through cheese croutons Onion soup with herby garlic cheese bread

And let's no forget the classic onion ring!Crispy Cajun onion rings

This post was critical reviewed ~ above 31 respectable 2021 by Kerry Torrens.

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Kerry Torrens is a standard Nutritionist (MBANT) v a article graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the british Association because that Nutrition and also Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and also a member that the Guild of Food Writers. End the last 15 years she has been a contributing writer to a variety of nutritional and cookery publications consisting of BBC great Food.

Jo Lewin is a registered nutritionist (RNutr) v the Association because that Nutrition v a specialism in windy health. Follow she on Twitter