10 Amazing Benefits of Onion, Types and Ways to Add Into Diet

Dr. Rajkumar Vinod Desai

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Rajkumar Vinod Desai

General Physician

8 min read


Onions belong to the genus Allium of plants in the lily family. We can avail of lots of benefits by consuming onions regularly. This blog gives a deep insight into onion benefits, uses, and more.

Key Takeaways

  • Onion is an important immunity booster vegetable that is rich in nutrients
  • Onions offer multiple health benefits related to the skin, hair, bones, heart, and brain
  • Consuming onions can lower the risk of developing cancer

Do you want to know about the benefits of onions? Vegetables are important for health, but certain varieties offer specific health benefits. Onions are one such vegetable that belongs to the family of garlic, leeks, and chives. They are abundant in several vitamins and minerals, and it has been proven that there are many health benefits of onion. In addition, onions also show medicinal properties, and that is why they are used to treat headaches, mouth sores, and heart diseases [1].

Onion Nutritional Value

Onions are highly nutritious and rich in vitamins and minerals. In addition, it is low in calories. There are many immunity booster vegetables, and onions are one of them.

Here are the various nutrients that onion contains:

  • One medium onion contains a rich dose of minerals, vitamins, and fiber and has just 44 calories [2]
  • Onions have high Vitamin C content that helps regulate immune health, tissue repair, collagen production, and iron absorption
  • This Vitamin C also acts as a potent antioxidant that protects against cell damage caused by free radicals [3]
  • Onions are rich in Vitamin B, including Vitamin B6 and folate, which improve metabolism, nerve function, and red blood cell production [4]
  • Onions are rich in the mineral potassium, which is required for regular cellular function, nerve transmission, fluid balance, muscle contraction, and kidney function [5]

There are many benefits of eating raw onions. A half-cup serving of raw white onion chopped contains the following nutrients:

  • 32 calories
  • 7 grams of carbohydrates
  • 1 gram of protein
  • 0-gram fat
  • 1 gram of fiber
  • 3 grams of sugar

There are various benefits of eating onions which we will discuss below.

Health Benefits of Onions

Onions are known to offer a variety of health benefits as they are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. You can eat them in any form, be it raw onions or cooked, to reap the many health benefits..

Promotes Hair Health

Onion benefits for hair cannot be ignored. You can successfully treat your hair issues at home with onions. They promote hair growth, aid grey hair reversal, and prevent hair loss. Onion hair oil benefits are many. It helps get rid of dandruff and reduces patch hair loss or Alopecia.

Onion Benefits for Skin

Onion extracts make most forms of bacteria inactive. They help your skin clear bacteria that cause skin inflammation. Onions may help treat acne, bacterial or fungal infections, and skin scars. In addition, onion masks can moisturize and brighten the skin.

Onion for Flu and Cough

For centuries, onions have been used as preventative medicine. They are rich in manganese that offers protection against cold and flu. Cut onions release compounds that inhibit pathogen growth, and the juice released from cut onions can kill the growth of several types of microorganisms.

Onion Benefits Cancer

Many kinds of onions contain chemicals that help fight cancer. They have constituents such as DADS, DATS, S-allyl mercaptan cysteine, and ajoene. These components hinder cancer cell cycle progression by suppressing the spread of various cancer cells. [6]

Onion benefits include the flavonoid quercetin, which is known to prevent the activity or creation of cancer-causing elements. Therefore, consuming a quercetin-rich diet can lower the risk of developing lung cancer.

Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Onions contain antioxidants and other components that decrease triglycerides and reduce cholesterol levels. In addition, they have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce high blood pressure, lower heart disease risk, and prevent blood clots.

The benefits of onions include organosulfur compounds that give their characteristic smell and taste. These compounds show anti-thrombotic and anti-inflammatory properties. It means that they reduce the level of cholesterol in your body by breaking down blood clots. This lowers your risk for heart disease and stroke. [7]

Onion Helps Control Blood Sugar

The benefits of onions include quercetin and organic sulfur compounds that promote insulin production. Thus, onion lowers glucose levels in the blood and improves glucose tolerance in people with Type II diabetes. So, 2 to 3.5 ounces of fresh onion daily can be helpful for diabetic people. [8]

Lowers Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder and the main reason for dementia. The benefits of onions are that they contain natural polyphenols with high antioxidant capacity. They also contain flavonoids. Research shows that consuming a long-term diet high in flavonoids decreases their risk of Alzheimer's disease. [11]

Promotes Healthy Digestion

Onions also have some digestive benefits. Onions contain a special fibre inulin that contributes to its digestive benefits. Inulin is a good food source for the beneficial bacteria in the intestines. So, when you consume onions, this fibre helps maintain good levels of healthy bacteria in your body.

Onions also contain another soluble fibre, oligofructose, which prevents and treats different types of diarrheas' [9]. Similarly, the phytochemicals in onions can also reduce the risk of gastric ulcers and provide one of the many health benefits of onions.

Onion Benefits Infographic

Benefits of Onion for Bones and Joints

Onion benefits also include preventing age-related osteoporosis. A study showed that women who consumed onions regularly had 5% more bone mass than those who ate less [10]. onions benefit the bone density of older women above 50.

Benefits of Onion for Man

Onion benefits for men too. They are rich in Vitamin C, which protects against body cell damage caused by free radicals. This helps slow down the aging process. It also helps prevent diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer

Besides these, onions are the top aphrodisiac foods that enhance testosterone production. Onion benefits help strengthen the reproductive organs, improve sexual stamina, and is also helpful in treating men's sexual dysfunctions.

Additional Read: Superfoods To Build ImmunityBenefits of Eating Onion

Healthy Ways to Use Onions in Your Diet

This is how you can add onions to your diet:

  • Side dishes with cooked onions and other vegetables can be used
  • Onions can be added to omelets or other food and egg dishes
  • Prepare a fibre rich food such as a salad with chopped onions, chickpeas, and red bell peppers
  • You can even add thinly sliced red onions to your salad
  • Onions can be used as a base for soups and stocks
  • Onions can be added to various stir-fry dishes
  • You can prepare a tasty salsa with tomatoes, onions, and fresh cilantro
  • Healthy homemade salad dressings can be prepared by blending raw onions with vinegar, olive oil, and fresh herbs
  • You can caramelize onions and add them to savory baked goods

Different Types of Onions

Onion is commonly found in almost any part of the earth. Several types of onions exist, and here are the common ones:

  • White onions – White onions have a paper-like white skin. They are milder and sweeter than yellow onions
  • Red onions – The red onions have an external, deep magenta skin and flesh. These onions can be eaten raw and are mild and sweet enough
  • Yellow onions – The yellow onions have ivory white inside, surrounded by dark and dull yellowish or heavy brown skin. They have a strong, sulfur-like smell
  • Sweet onions – Sweet onions have lighter-colored and less-opaque skin. The skin covers the body of the onion, which is usually large and fat compared to other species of onions
  • Green onions or Scallions– Green onions are young onions that haven’t yet matured to form a bulb. Instead, they have a longer, green stalk
  • Shallots – These are small onions that have brown skin and purple flesh
  • Leeks – Leeks look similar to green onions but have a long and wider-necked onion with a small bulb. They can be used in soups and sauces

Precautions to Eat Onions

There are many benefits of onions, making them a versatile vegetable. Most of the time, onions are harmless, and people can consume them without any side effects or allergic reactions. However, certain chemicals in onions can sometimes trigger allergies in some people. 

These symptoms of onion allergy can be tingling or itching in the mouth, nasal congestion, lips, tongue, face or throat swelling, difficulty breathing, gas, nausea, vomiting, diarrheas', stomach pain, dizziness, or a rash anywhere in the body.

If you develop mild symptoms after consuming onions, they will resolve on their own once the onion is flushed out of your system. You can take common at-home treatments to cure the mild symptoms.

In some instances, you may continue to experience symptoms of an onion allergy for days after consuming onions. In such situations, you may need a general physician consultation.

How to Incorporate Onions in to Dishes

There are many benefits of eating onion, and you can add them to your diet in many ways. Onions can be grilled, roasted, pickled, battered, caramelized, and deep-fried. They can also be chopped or sliced thinly and served raw in salads, dips, garnishing, and sandwiches. It makes them one of the most versatile ingredients in the culinary world. Onions can also be used to enhance the flavor of soups, stocks, and sauces in different cuisines to get the many health benefits of onions.

Additional Read: Fiber-Rich Food

Onions are commonly used all over the world. They are rich in vital nutrients, such as potassium, vitamins B and C, flavonoids, and many others but are still low in calories. There are hundreds of benefits of onions. Incorporating them into your daily cooking routine is good for your health and body and adds flavor to your dishes. Schedule an online appointment with the doctors at Bajaj Finserv Health to get more information about healthy foods and vegetables.

Published on 6 Mar 2023Last updated on 10 Apr 2023
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7894628/
  2. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170000/nutrients
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32738399/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9662251/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4963920/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4366009/#:~:text=Garlic%20and%20onion%20constituents%2C%20including,42%2C%2068%2C%2069).
  7. https://www.onions-usa.org/onionista/health-benefits-of-onions-will-recharge-you-for-heart-health-month/#:~:text=The%20organosulfur%20compounds%20are%20primarily,is%20found%20in%20all%20onions.
  8. https://www.peacehealth.org/medical-topics/id/hn-3657001#:~:text=Onion%20may%20lower%20blood%20glucose,reduce%20high%20blood%20glucose%20levels.
  9. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1542356504006779
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19240657
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7398772/

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

Dr. Rajkumar Vinod Desai

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Rajkumar Vinod Desai

, MBBS 1


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