6 Amazing Benefits of Onions

A pile of brown onions.

Onions have amazing health benefits. (Image: Kmiragaya via Dreamstime)

For many people, onions are an easy vegetable to incorporate into a variety of delicious meals, such as sautéed beef with onions or scrambled eggs with onions. Yet many people don’t know how much onions can benefit their health. Read on to discover the many health benefits of onions.

Medicine and food share a common origin. In your daily diet, there are many fruits and vegetables that have medicinal properties. While the onion is an indispensable ingredient in many Western dishes, the health benefits of onions to the body are almost unbelievable. According to medical studies, if people eat raw onions or drink pureed onion juice, there can be a variety of fantastic effects.

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8 health benefits of onions

1. Decompose fat to prevent blood clots

Compounds in onions have the effect of raising good cholesterol, preventing platelets from clotting, and accelerating the dissolution of blood clots. When eating high-fat foods, it’s a great idea to pair them with onions as doing so will help counteract blood clots caused by high-fat foods. Steak is often eaten with onions, which makes great health sense. People with high cholesterol should eat onions every day. Make sure they are not overcooked though; the more cooked the onions are, the less effective they will be.

Onions counteract blood clots caused by high-fat foods
Onions counteract blood clots caused by high-fat foods. (Image: Msphotographic via Dreamstime)

2. Prevent osteoporosis

Some people don’t like to use onions in cooking because cutting onions makes them tearful, and many people dislike the smell of onions. Bear in mind that if people want to keep their bones strong, grow taller, and prevent osteoporosis, it is best to eat onions regularly. According to research published in 2005 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, onions are one of the vegetables that can prevent bone loss the most. Onions prevent bone loss even better than the osteoporosis drug Calcitonin.

Researchers fed male rats 1 gram of dried onions a day, and after 4 consecutive weeks, the bone mass of the rats increased by an average of 13.5 to 18 percent. Another set of experiments found that eating mixed vegetables containing onions could also reduce bone loss in rats. In a third experiment female rats whose ovaries were removed were given 1.5 grams of onions a day, and the rate of bone loss was reduced by 25 percent. More notably, the health benefits of onions were seen in as short as 12 hours.

3. Prevent high cholesterol

Another study showed that supplementing a diet with onion or drinking onion juice can increase the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol content by about 30 percent on average for patients with heart disease. HDL is known to help prevent atherosclerosis and is also referred to as “good” cholesterol.

Eating half an onion raw every day, or drinking the same amount of onion juice, was originally a folk remedy to protect the heart.

4. Prevent stomach cancer

Red onions and leeks mixed together.
Onions, green onions, and leeks can fight cancer. (Image: Andy Chisholm via Dreamstime)

Onions, garlic, green onions, leeks, and other allium vegetables contain anti-cancer chemicals. A survey conducted by researchers in a place with a high incidence of gastric cancer in Shandong Province found that those who ate more onions had fewer cases of gastric cancer.

5. Anti-asthma

Onions contain at least three natural anti-inflammatory chemicals that can treat asthma. Onions can inhibit the activity of histamine, the chemical that causes allergy symptoms in asthma. According to a German study, onions can reduce the risk of asthma attacks by about half.

6. Treat diabetes

A long time ago onions were used to treat diabetes. In modern times, studies have shown that red onions can indeed lower blood sugar in Type 2 diabetics. They will be equally effective whether they are eaten raw or cooked. There is an anti-diabetic compound in onions that is similar to the commonly used oral hypoglycemic drug methanesulfonamide, which has the effect of stimulating the synthesis and release of insulin.

The writer of this story is not a medical professional, and the information that is in this story has been collected from reliable sources — every precaution has been taken to ensure its accuracy. The information provided is for general information purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional health care.

Translated by: Patty Zhang

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