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Surprising Health Benefits of Onions: More Than Just Flavor

Onions are a common vegetable that can be found in many households, but did you know they offer more than just flavor to our meals? Studies have shown that consuming onions can provide numerous health benefits, particularly in terms of cancer prevention.

Onions are a rich source of the antioxidant quercetin, a flavonoid that has been linked to reducing the risk of blood clots, lowering cholesterol, fighting off symptoms of asthma, and reducing the risk of infection. Onions also have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibiotic properties.

It’s important to note that the health benefits of onions are maximized when consuming them raw and with the first two layers of the onion. Over-peeling the onion can remove up to 75% of the antioxidant anthocyanin.

To get the most out of onions, it’s recommended to consume a variety of them, including at least one full red onion and three onions in total each week. Incorporating raw onions into your diet can increase your organic sulfur intake. However, it’s important to note that consuming onions as part of a balanced diet is key to maintaining overall health.

One way to boost the health benefits of onions is by incorporating them into a fermented dish, such as pickled red onions. Fermented foods like pickled onions are rich in probiotics, which can promote a healthy gut.

Here’s a recipe to make your own pickled onions at home:


  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup rice vinegar, white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • Optional: 1 small clove of garlic, 5 black peppercorns, 5 allspice berries, 3 small sprigs of thyme, 1 small dried chili


  1. Slice the onion thinly and halve the garlic clove.
  2. In a container, add sugar, salt, vinegar, and optional flavorings. Stir to dissolve.
  3. Bring water to boil in a kettle, blanch the onions and garlic, then let them drain.
  4. Add the onions and garlic to the container and stir gently.
  5. Store in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but for best results, let sit for several hours. Keep for several weeks.

Onions have many benefits to offer when included in a balanced diet. Don’t be afraid to add them to your meals or make pickled onions to improve overall health. Keep in mind to not over-peel the onion and consume a variety of onions to get the most of the health benefits.

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