Eating onions is a healthy way to add important nutrients such as fiber, minerals and phytonutrients to your diet. Since onions are versatile and can be used in many different dishes, buying them in bulk can also enhance the health of your pocketbook. I find myself adding onions to practically everything I cook. When I include onions in recipes, I chop them coarsely to add to egg, fish or chicken recipes and finely to add to meat and vegetable dishes. When was the last time you ate raw onions or even cooked with onions? People have their favorite type of onions, and will use red, yellow, white or green onions to add great flavor to meals. People have been enjoying onions for thousands of years (1, 2). I use red onions predominantly but also like the yellow variety. The flavors that onions add to meals are cherished in many cultural cuisines. Regardless of which type you use, the flavor of your meals will be greatly enhanced and the phytonutrients in the onions will also benefit your health. Onions are members of the Allium genus, which also includes chives, garlic, leeks and shallots. Whenever, we use these vegetables, we obtain important bioactive sulfur compounds and flavonoids like quercetin from onions. These compounds have been shown to have anticancer, antitumor, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-toxigenic properties. More is known about their protective effects against cancers of the gastrointestinal tract (1).The phytonutrients in onions also enhance immune activity (1). Onions can be found bundled with other vegetables in the day-old produce rack at your local grocery store. You may also find the vegetables discounted for store manager’s specials. If you plan to use the onions and other vegetables on the same day, this might be a great way to maintain a healthy pocketbook as well. Make some salsa with tomatoes, onions and cilantro. Enjoy onions the next time you scramble some eggs, make a salad or prepare a sandwich or wrap.
- Nicastro, HL, Ross SA and Milner JA (2015) Garlic and Onions: Their cancer prevention properties. Cancer Prev. Res. (Phila), 8(3):181-189.
- Sengupta, A, Ghosh, S and Bhattacharjee, S (2004) Allium vegetables in cancer prevention: An overview. Asian Pacific Cancer Prev., 5:237-245.