From controlling your blood sugar to cleansing your body, here are 5 reasons why you should start eating raw red onions
02/05/2019 // Zoey Sky // Views

Chopping onions can make you cry, but it's a sacrifice worth making because onions can give a dish an incredible boost of flavor. But did you know that eating red onions offers various health benefits and that they can help you manage your blood sugar?

Raw vs. cooked red onions

According to Haley Hooks, a dietetic intern at Tufts University’s Frances Stern Nutrition Center, onions are full of beneficial chemicals such as antioxidants, flavonoids, sulfur compounds, and vitamin C.

Onions are nutritious whether you eat them raw or cooked. However, raw onions have higher levels of sulfur compounds. The sulfur compounds in onions are formed via an enzymatic reaction when they are cut or crushed.

According to studies, these sulfur compounds offer several benefits such as promoting the breakdown of blood clots, which can lower your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. These onion compounds can also reduce the production of unhealthy cholesterol in the body.

To maximize the sulfur content of red onions, it's better to eat them raw. Cooking onions will significantly decrease the quantity of the compounds that offer various health benefits.

The only downside is, these sulfur compounds are responsible for the pungent odor of onions. The compounds also make you teary-eyed when you're slicing onions.

If you can stomach the taste of raw red onions, add them to dishes like salads or sandwiches. If you prefer to eat cooked onions, cooking them lightly will still offer many health benefits. Serve grilled or roasted red onions as a side dish, or dice and saute them with some peppers to make a delicious and healthy relish for lean meat or grains.

Here are several reasons to start eating raw red onions:

  1. They can boost heart health. Red onions have flavonoids that promote heart health. They also contain organosulfur compounds that can help lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The thiosulfinates in onions act as natural blood thinners, which can reduce the risk of stroke.
  2. They can boost your immune system.  Red onions have selenium that can strengthen your immune system and stimulate immune function. Onions also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease the condition of people who have asthma.
  3. They can help control your blood sugar. The sulfur compounds of raw red onions can help lower your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes.
  4. They have anti-cancer properties. Out of all the different types of onions, the red ones are the most effective in destroying both breast and colon cancer cells. The outer layers of red onions contain quercetin, and this antioxidant fights harmful free radicals in the body. Red onions are also rich in anthocyanin. These two compounds can make cancer cells "kill" themselves. Increasing your anthocyanin and quercetin levels can help hinder the growth of cancer cells in your body. Additionally, raw red onions can help minimize cancer risk by eliminating carcinogens from your liver, inhibiting inflammation, neutralizing free radicals, and repairing DNA and tissue damage. (Related: Powerful anti-cancer compound in red onions found to “destroy” cancer tumors.)
  5. They can promote detoxification. Red onion's total antioxidant profile can help boost the activity of two potent compounds: glutathione and superoxide dismutase (SOD). These compounds can support different detoxification pathways that help eliminate toxins from the body.

Regardless of your food preferences, eating more red onions daily can help improve your overall well-being. It can even improve your cardiovascular health and lower your risk of developing cancer.

Sources include:

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