Onions are members of the Allium genus of flowering plants that also includes garlic, shallots, leeks and chives. These vegetables contain various vitamins, minerals and potent plant compounds that have been shown to promote health in many ways.
The pungent property in onions make people shed tears when they are cut. People eat raw onions in “kachumbari” and other meals, but not many people can agree to eat raw onions.
However, eating them has a lot of benefits and that’s what we will be shedding more light to in this article. Below are 8 benefits of eating raw onions you need to know;
1. Improved Immune System
Onion is rich in selenium. This is a mineral that reduces inflammation and also improves our body immunity. More so, they help prevent high immune activities thus maintaining a balanced body immunity.
2. Benefit Heart Health
Onions contain antioxidants and compounds that fight inflammation, decrease triglycerides and reduce cholesterol levels — all of which may lower heart disease risk.
Their potent anti-inflammatory properties may also help reduce high blood pressure and protect against blood clots.
Quercetin is a flavonoid antioxidant that’s highly concentrated in onions. Since it’s a potent anti-inflammatory, it may help decrease heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure.
A study in 70 overweight people with high blood pressure found that a dose of 162 mg per day of quercetin-rich onion extract significantly reduced systolic blood pressure by 3–6 mmHg compared to a placebo. Onions have also been shown to decrease cholesterol levels.
A study in 54 women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) found that consuming large amounts of raw red onions (40–50 grams/day if overweight and 50–60 grams/day if obese) for eight weeks reduced total and “bad” LDL cholesterol compared to a control group.
Additionally, evidence from animal studies supports that onion consumption may reduce risk factors for heart disease, including inflammation, high triglyceride levels and blood clot formation.
3. Lower Cancer Risk
Eating onions daily will protect your body from cancer-causing agents. The organosulfur compound in onions inhibits actions of cancer-causing agents and also stops their activities in the intestines.
4. Loaded With Antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation, a process that leads to cellular damage and contributes to diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Onions are an excellent source of antioxidants. In fact, they contain over 25 different varieties of flavonoid antioxidants.
Red onions, in particular, contain anthocyanins — special plant pigments in the flavonoid family that give red onions their deep color.
Multiple population studies have found that people who consume more foods rich in anthocyanins have a reduced risk of heart disease.
For example, a study in 43,880 men showed that habitual intakes as high as 613 mg per day of anthocyanins were correlated to a 14% lower risk of nonfatal heart attacks.
Similarly, a study in 93,600 women observed that those with the highest intake of anthocyanin-rich foods were 32% less likely to experience a heart attack than women with the lowest intake 14Trusted Source).
Additionally, anthocyanins have been found to protect against certain types of cancer and diabetes.
5. Lowers Risk Of Food Poisoning
Onions are rich in antibacterial compounds. The juice released from an onion has the ability to slow down or even stop the growth of certain microorganisms that cause food poisoning.
6. Helps In Allergy
Onions have quercetin supplements that help stop allergic-causing compounds like the histamines. Quercetin work by blocking the production of these compounds (histamines) in the body.
7. Help Control Blood Sugar
Eating onions may help control blood sugar, which is especially significant for people with diabetes or prediabetes.
A study in 42 people with type 2 diabetes demonstrated that eating 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of fresh red onion reduced fasting blood sugar levels by about 40 mg/dl after four hours.
Additionally, multiple animal studies have shown that onion consumption may benefit blood sugar control.
A study showed that diabetic rats fed food containing 5% onion extract for 28 days experienced decreased fasting blood sugar and had substantially lower body fat than the control group.
Specific compounds found in onions, such as quercetin and sulfur compounds, possess antidiabetic effects.
For example, quercetin has been shown to interact with cells in the small intestine, pancreas, skeletal muscle, fat tissue and liver to control whole-body blood sugar regulation.
8. Improved Mood
Onions are rich in folate. These mineral compounds are responsible for inhibiting production of excess homocysteine compounds in the body. Excess homocysteine in the body block the production of mood and feel good hormones like serotonin and dopamine.