Multi-Layered: The Health Benefits of Onions

Multi-Layered: The Health Benefits of Onions Raw onions in basket on wooden table

Yeah, they tend to make you cry, but so do really good movies and books. So why let that stop you from enjoying the health benefits of onions? As you’ll find out from this article, they’re pretty wonderful and pretty important.

A raw red onion is one of my favorite foods ever. You can pair the slices with so many cool, delicious things and have a feast-like meal with almost no preparation needed. For me, red onion slices (salted with confidence) paired with a nice cheese, whatever the type, is a top 10 snack, all the way from my childhood. But you can also add many raw types of onions as topping for all kinds of spreads and I don’t think I have to tell you how many dishes have sautéed onions as a starting point. Hint: Lots of them.

But did you know that onions have been around for thousands of years? At least 5,500, since archeologists found ones dating back to 3500 B.C. Ancient Egyptians worshipped them because of their shape and their concentric circles symbolized eternity. And also, in the Middle Ages, they were used as currency or gifts.

So let’s start unpeeling the layers and seeing which are the most important health benefits of onions. And before we do that, you might want to find out how to cut an onion to get the taste just right.

Multi-Layered: The Health Benefits of Onions

We are pretty lucky to have onions in our lives, even if they can be a pain to prep.

5 health benefits of onions to take advantage of

1. They support your digestion

Those lovely onions are full of inulin, a fiber that’s useful for the health of your gut because probiotic bacteria like to eat it. That means that your gut flora will be even healthier. Other than that, inulin also helps prevent constipation and boost the absorption of nutrients. It might also curb your appetite, but the jury is still out on this one.

2. They improve bone density

There might be a link between eating onions and bone health, according to research that looked at perimenopausal and postmenopausal Caucasian women with ages over 50. The study subjects who ate more onions were the ones who had better bone density and also had a 20 percent lower risk of fracturing their hips, compared to the subjects who never ate any type of onions.

3. They’re loaded with antioxidants

There are dozens of different types of antioxidants in onions and they help with plenty of systems in your body. The main one is quercetin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. But there are plenty more. And guess what? You’ll find most of them on the outer layer of the onions. So, be careful when you’re prepping them for cooking and don’t remove too many of those outer layers.

Multi-Layered: The Health Benefits of Onions

Onions go well with almost anything but especially caramelized on top of burgers.

4. They have some vitamins and minerals

Alongside the antioxidants, there are some other nutritious elements to onions (depending on the type, size and color, so diversify your diet) that will make all of the difference when you add them to a cooked dish or a fresh salad. You will also be getting some vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, potassium, and manganese.

5. They lower cholesterol

Quite a few studies have found that subjects who followed a high red onion diet had a greater drop in cholesterol levels – good cholesterol, but also ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol as well – than the other subjects who were following a low onion diet. The good news for people who eat onion? The ones who had the low onion diet had lower cholesterol, too, after eight weeks.

I’m a pop culture nerd who thinks too much about fried bacon, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and life, the Universe and everything. I love food and sometimes you can see that on my hips, but I don't care that much about that.
What I do care more about is trying to eat healthier, even though I admit that I like to indulge in my food fantasies. I’m addicted to puns, so forgive me for that when you read my articles. I now know too much about nutrition to be fun to hang out with. So long and thanks for all the fish-based omega-3 fatty acids.

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