Are Onions Healthy?


Onions provide many health benefits and were renowned even in ancient times. 

With their spherical shape and concentric rings, onions have long symbolized eternal life. This belief was so strong that the ancient Egyptians considered onions sacred, even burying them with their pharaohs.

People worldwide have used onions for medicinal purposes for centuries due to their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Red onions provide nutrition for various health benefits and protect the body from diseases.

Are Onions Healthy for Me?

The research found that the red onion protects the body from a significant number of chronic diseases, such as,

  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Heart diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Brain tumors
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Breasts cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Lung cancer

Onions themselves are a great source of antioxidants. Red onions, however, have the richest antioxidant composition, with yellow onions coming in second. Red onions contain eleven times more power than the white onion.

Antioxidants in onions are made of potent flavonoids, anthocyanins, and sulfur compounds, protecting against oxidative stress and free radicals. 

Sulfur-containing compounds are responsible for the flavor and aroma of onions. Research shows that sulfur increases the production of neurotransmitters in the brain, resulting in improved memory, attention span, and concentration levels. 

The sulfur compounds also inhibit the growth of harmful microorganisms, specifically the ones that prevent blood clots from forming. They also protect against cancer, along with anticholesterol and anti-inflammatory properties. 

The deep red-purplish color is due to the number of anthocyanins, a flavonoid, in them, giving onions the antioxidant properties. 

What are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants inhibit oxidation and the formation of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). ROS and oxidation cause systemic inflammation and cellular damage in the nervous and other systems. Oxidative stress majorly contributes to many diseases in the body. 

Are Red Onions Healthy for Nerves?

One of the most impressive characteristics of red onions is their neuroprotective capabilities from a flavonoid called quercetin. Quercetin protects nerves from damage and assists in the nerve repair process. 

This flavonoid protects the brain cells from damage and holds tremendous promise in preventing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Beyond neuroprotective effects, quercetin protects the mitochondria from injury from chemical assault like elevated glucose levels or exposure to toxic chemicals. 

One study found quercetin exhibited protective effects on peripheral nerve toxicity from a chemotherapy drug, vincristine. 

Furthermore, quercetin in red onions shows promise with recovery from spinal cord injuries. One study found quercetin minimizes tissue damage and improves nerve axon regeneration in spinal cord injuries. 

The powerful flavonoid has nerve growth-promoting effects that can accelerate sensory and motor recovery, reducing muscle atrophy or wasting. Studies on this effect are new, and many more clinical studies are required, but they are promising. 

What Health Benefits Do Red Onions Provide?

Red onions offer substantial health benefits. The antioxidants and sulfur compounds improve the cardiovascular system and GI tract. 

Improves Cardiovascular Health

Within the cardiovascular system, Studies have shown they can:

  • Reduce elevated blood pressure
  • Improve cholesterol levels
  • Protect against cardiovascular diseases

Improves GI Tract Health

Healthy red onions also partially support and restore the gastrointestinal tract’s health. These vegetables are rich in prebiotic fibers called fructans. Fructans nourishes beneficial gut bacteria, resulting in:

  • Enhanced gut health and digestion
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Improved immunity

As a result, red onions boost insulin production by the pancreas. The improved production protects against insulin resistance and lowers glucose levels. 

Protects Against Cancer

Studies completed between 2014 and 2016 show correlations of positive benefits against cancer due to red onions. The people in the studies showed those with the most significant onion intake were 22% less likely to develop stomach cancer and 15% less likely to develop colorectal cancer.

The sulfur-containing compounds help decrease tumor development and slow the spread of ovarian cancer. 

Protects Against Dangerous Bacteria

Red onions provide potent antibacterial properties. Research shows its compounds fight dangerous bacteria such as H. pylori, E. coli, pseudomonas aeruginosa, staph aureus, and bacillus cereus. 

What is the Healthy Way to Eat Red Onions?

For the best benefits, we recommend consuming raw onions. Dr. Coppola and Dr. Monteiro do not peel the top layers off when eating onions. These rich layers provide a high concentration of phenolic compounds and antioxidants.

When preparing to eat the onion, only remove the thinnest layer, which is like thin paper. Furthermore, cooking the red onions can reduce or destroy the antioxidants. 

For the best benefits, we recommend consuming raw onions. This might seem unconventional, but it’s the most effective way to retain the onion’s powerful antioxidants. So, slice or dice them and add them to your favorite dishes, knowing you’re making a healthy choice. 

Onions are often avoided because they tend to cause crying when slicing or chopping them. Dr. Monteiro uses onion goggles from Amazon to protect her eyes. 

Furthermore, parsley quickly reduces the smell of onion in the breath. For those who do not enjoy onions, quercetin can also be consumed as a supplement. Since it has poor bioavailability, we recommend taking one capsule of digestive enzymes along with it.

Struggling with Neuropathy?

Book a consultation with one of America’s leading experts in peripheral neuropathy. Dr. Coppola and Dr. Monteiro have worked with neuropathy patients for almost 20 years and conduct seminars to help patients and doctors improve and reverse neuropathy.

To schedule an appointment, visit or call our customer service representatives at (844)400-0101. They are available Mondays through Fridays from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.