Are raw or cooked onions healthier?

Onions are an essential part of almost every recipe. Their great flavor is the starting point for dishes such as soups, casseroles or sauces.

But beyond the flavor profile, onions also have impressive nutritional values. They are rich in vitamin C, a good source of dietary fiber and folic acid, and contain calcium, iron and some protein. Onions are also rich in quercetin, an antioxidant compound that may reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and other age-related diseases.

Whether you like red, white or yellow onions, they’re worth adding to your weekly shopping list.

Onion nutritional values

Onion nutrition varies slightly based on size and variety. But according to the National Onion Association, one medium has:

45 calories

1 gram of protein

0 grams of fat

11 grams of carbohydrates

3 grams of fiber (11% Daily Value (DV))

12 milligrams of vitamin C (20% DV)

0.2 mcg manganese (10% DV)

The health benefits of eating onions

The most notable compound in onions is quercetin, a type of antioxidant that helps fight inflammatory damage in the body. Because onions are one of the most abundant sources of quercetin, they’ve been studied for their potential role in fighting heart disease, cancer, and cognitive decline.

Quercetin is known to fight inflammation and thus has been studied for its potential role in treating heart disease. Quercetin supplementation has been shown to reduce blood pressure markers in those with type 2 diabetes, and a study in the British Journal of Nutrition concluded that quercetin supplementation from onion skin extract lowers blood pressure in patients with hypertension.

Additionally, eating more onions has been linked to a reduction in some types of cancer. One study found that regular consumption of allium vegetables, including garlic, onion, leeks, chives and scallions, coincided with a lower incidence of colorectal cancer. A second case-control study showed a link between garlic consumption and reduced breast cancer risk.

Additionally, onions contain flavonoids, otherwise known as plant compounds, which are good for your health. A 2020 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a diet rich in flavonoids can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

Onions are also an excellent source of vitamin C, best known for its role in immune health. But it also plays a role in wound healing and collagen production, which keeps skin and joints healthy. Additionally, onions contain prebiotic fiber, which feeds the healthy microbes in your gut and contributes to overall digestive health.

What is the difference between white, red and yellow onions?

White and yellow onions are virtually identical in terms of nutrition, but red onions contain anthocyanins which give them their deep color. Anthocyanins are a type of antioxidant that has been linked to reducing the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.

In terms of usage, white onions are the most neutral with a pungent flavor that works well in raw, grilled, or sauteed dishes. Yellow onions are similar to, albeit slightly sweeter than white onions, and are great for caramelizing. Red onions are a little spicier and a little spicy, and are best when cooked. The National Onion Association has a helpful chart here.

Are there any disadvantages to eating onions?

There are no nutritional disadvantages to eating onions, but they can cause digestive problems for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). According to Monash University, onions are high in FODMAPs, a group of carbohydrates that trigger symptoms of IBS.

Cooking with onions isn’t well tolerated among IBS sufferers, but there are ways to add onion flavor to foods. Fructans (the carbohydrate in onions) aren’t soluble in oil, so you can saute an onion in oil and extract it before finishing your dish. This imparts onion flavor to the oil without unwanted digestive side effects.

Unfortunately, those suffering from reflux must also avoid onions, as they cause an increase in gastric acidity. There’s a chance that reflux sufferers may be able to tolerate onion-infused oil, but reflux triggers are very individualized, so it’s different for every person.

Learn more nutritional information about everyday foods

What’s healthier: cooked onion or raw onion?

A small amount of raw onions adds a powerful punch of flavor to any dish, but is it better to eat onions raw or cooked? The answer is: however you like it, as most onion preparations are a healthy addition to a meal.

Raw onions actually contain higher levels of organosulfur compounds, or chemicals that make your eyes water when you cut them. These sulfur molecules have anticancer effects and are slightly lower in cooked onions. That said, baked and sauteed onions contain slightly higher levels of quercetin, the antioxidant linked to many health benefits.

At the end of the day, both raw and cooked onions make a nutritious addition to your food. Then choose an onion type based on your preference.

Curiosity about onions

The sulfur compounds in onions make you cry

Onions contain sulfur compounds that are released when the skin breaks down. When this gas mixes with the liquid in the tear ducts, it causes the eyes to water. Fresh onions have more sulfur compounds and therefore produce more tears. To reduce weeping, cool the onion first or cut an older onion.

Foods that fight onion breath

Raw onions on your salad may be tasty, but lingering onion breath is an unwanted side effect. There are several foods that are believed to reduce the effects of onion breath, including fresh parsley, fresh mint, green tea, milk, and apples. While there isn’t much scientific evidence to back up these claims, there’s no harm in trying these foods.

Healthy recipes with onions

Onions are a versatile ingredient that fits into many dishes, like some of these delicious favorites.

Sausage Omelette, Peppers And Onions

Alexis de Boschnek

Crispy Baked Onion Rings

Casey Barber

French Onion Soup Gratin

Anina Belle Giannini

Tomato Avocado Salad

Courtesy of Sheela Prakash

Sweet Vidalia onion stuffed with potatoes au gratin with chives

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

One skillet chicken fajitas

Simon & Schuster

#raw #cooked #onions #healthier
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