Onions Are Nothing to Cry Over

Written By Julie Paiva, CHHC


Onions are cultivated and eaten all over the world.  This popular vegetable is found in most types of cuisine and gives dishes their flavorful taste.  They are usually served cooked but are often consumed raw as well.  Onions are also used in pickles and chutneys. The onion has a strong taste and a sharp, pungent flavor.  They are a humble ingredient that plays centerstage in most of our meals.


Often when we think of onions, we might recall tearing up when cutting one or having strong smelling breath after eating them.  However, these flavorful bulbs are packed with nutrients.  Raw onions not only provide an excellent taste for our palates but provide antibacterial properties that can cleanse and detox our bodies to eliminate disease.  Onions contain a high amount of sulfur compounds, which not only give onions that recognizable smell, but also their powerful detoxifying agents and are what cause the eyes to tear.  Sulfur is one of the most common minerals in our body that assists with protein synthesis and building of cell structures.


Onions are also an excellent source of vitamins C and B6, folate, iron, potassium, manganese, phytochemicals and flavonoids.  The flavonoids in onion are usually more concentrated in the outer layers of the bulb. To get the maximum benefit, try to peel as little of the outer skin as possible.  A particularly valuable flavonoid in onions is quercetin. Onions have antihistamine effects due to quercetin.  More interestingly, cooking onions in soup doesn’t diminish their quercetin value but simply transfers the antioxidant from the vegetable to the soup broth.


The fiber in onions promotes good digestion and helps keep you regular. Additionally, onions contain a special type of soluble fiber called oligofructose, which promotes good bacteria growth in your intestines. The digestive benefits of onions can be attributed to inulin, a fiber present in the vegetable. Inulin acts as a food source for the beneficial bacteria in the intestines.


These are many varieties of onions.  Below are some of the most common one.


Yellow Onions

They have ivory white flesh that is surrounded by heavy brown skin. They have a strong and sulfur-like aroma.


Sweet Onions

They have a lighter, less-opaque skin that surrounds a larger and slightly fatter body of the vegetable.


White Onions

They have a papery white skin, and they are milder and sweeter than their yellow counterparts.


Red Onions

They are mild and sweet enough to be eaten raw. The exterior skin and flesh is a deep magenta.



They are smaller and brown-skinned and have purple flesh.


Green Onions

They are the immature onions that haven’t yet formed a bulb.



They are shaped like overgrown scallions (the long-necked onion with a small bulb) and are usually used in sauces and soups.


All the onions mentioned above are available year-round. When buying onions, choose the ones that are clean, well-shaped, with no opening at the neck. Their necks should be tightly closed.  Dry onions should be firm with crisp, bright, and have a shiny outer skin with a crackly feel.


Whole onions should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place, where they will last for about 4 weeks. Avoid refrigerating them as this will turn them soft. As they absorb moisture, so avoid storing them in places like under the sink.


Onions are in expensive way to add a pop of flavor to your culinary delights.  They also provide your body with numerous health benefits.


Julie Paiva
Julie Paiva
Julie is a nutritional counselor with a degree in Holistic Health Coaching from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She also has a Bachelor’s Degree from Central Connecticut State University in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Science from Southern Connecticut State University. She has been giving one-on-one coaching sessions ever since earning her degree in 2013 and is passionate about helping others implement a holistic lifestyle!

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