Benefits of Red Onions and How To Use Them

Onions are one of the most popular vegetables worldwide.  While most children dislike their pungent and bity flavor, most adults embrace and use them regularly.   Red onions contain twice as many anti-oxidants as any other form of onion making them a powerful part of an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle.  This article will go over 10 benefits of red onions and how to use them to get the best results.

Red onions get their bite from the many sulfur groups they contain.   These sulfur groups include the diallyl sulfides:  DMS, DDS, DTS & DTTS.   These sulfur groups help produce cysteine within the body that aids in weight loss, detoxification and cancer prevention.  Additional research has shown that sulfur compounds have a strong anti-oxidant capacity that inhibits blood cell clumping.

The sulfur compounds in red onions also lower LDL cholesterol & triglycerides while boosting HDL levels.  They are associated with improving cell membrane function in red blood cells and improving oxygen utilization.  This improves cardiovascular function as well as fat metabolism.

Frequently Asked Questions With Onions:

1.  Do I Need to Purchase Organic Onions?  

Because onions are covered in a thin skin and are very sharp and pungent they repel pests.  They are not highly sprayed with toxic herbicides and pesticides and therefore can be purchased non-organic without significant risk for toxic chemical exposure.

2.  How Do I Reduce the Effect Onions Have on My Breath?

You can reduce the negative effects onions and other sulfur rich foods (garlic, shallots, radishes) have on your breath by consuming green veggies, bitter herbs such as dandelion, parsley or cilantro and herbs such as rosemary, fennel and peppermint.

I often advise my clients to consume parsley or make a green drink on days when you are consuming a lot of raw onion.

3.  Do I Get the Same Benefits from Cooked Onions as I Do with Raw Onions?

No, you will certainly lose much of the nutrient content but you will still get some of the benefits so it is better to consume cooked onions than no onions at all.

4.  What if Onions Give Me Gas When I Eat Them?

Onions have very healthy polyphenols (quercetin) that help to improve the make up of our gut microflora.  For most individuals, they are extremely good for the gut microbiome.  However, they also contain fructan sugars that are part of the FODMAP group.  Some individuals with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and other digestive issues can struggle to digest these sugars.  This can lead to gas and bloating.

If you notice gas, bloating, cramping when consuming onions than take them out of your diet and follow a low FODMAP diet for a period of time while you work to heal your gut.

5.  Do Vidalia Onions and White Onions Have the Same Benefits as Red Onions?

The vidalia and white onions are very healthy as they do contain the sulfur compounds, quercetin and chromium.  However, red onions are the only onions that have anthocyanins and therefore they are more nutrient dense than any other form of onion.