Onions are one of the most popular vegetables worldwide. While most children dislike their pungent and bitey flavor, most adults embrace and use them regularly. Red onions contain twice as many antioxidants as any other form of onion making them a powerful part of an anti-inflammatory diet and Sirtfood lifestyle. Red onions are one of the top 20 Sirtfoods.
Red onions are also a rich source of the flavonoid antioxidant and major sirtuin-activating nutrient quercetin and the polyphenol antioxidant anthocyanin. These antioxidants prevent the oxidation of dietary and cellular fatty acids. They are very powerful free radical scavengers that neutralize cancer cell growth and dramatically reduce whole body inflammation.
The anti-oxidant flavonoids are extremely rich in the outer layers of the onion. Many people will peel off the first few layers and lose much of these critical nutrients. Be sure to utilize the outer, fleshy edible portions as much as possible.
How Many Red Onions to Eat?
Simmering onions in a soup or broth will damage some of the anthocyanins but not the sirtuin-activating quercetin. The quercetin moves into the soup or broth. The lower the heat the more nutrients will be contained in the soup or broth. Studies have shown that 4-7 servings of red onions each week (equivalent to about 2-3 onions) have been associated with the greatest benefit in reducing colorectal, oral, laryngeal, esophageal & ovarian cancer.
Red onions should be stored in a cool, dry area with good airflow. Until they are opened they should not be stored in a refrigerator or plastic bag as both of these have been shown to speed up spoilage. Once opened, it is best to store in refrigeration. Avoid any onions that are wet, soft, bruised or have dark spots or mold on them.
Frequently Asked Questions With Red Onions
1. Do I Need to Purchase Organic Onions?
Because onions are covered in a thin skin and are very sharp and pungent they repel pests. They are not highly sprayed with toxic herbicides and pesticides and therefore can be purchased non-organic without significant risk from toxic chemical exposure.
2. How Do I Reduce the Effect Onions Have on My Breath?
You can reduce the negative effects onions and other sulfur-rich foods (garlic, shallots, radishes) have on your breath by consuming green veggies, bitter herbs such as dandelion, parsley or cilantro and herbs such as rosemary, fennel and peppermint.
We often advise people to consume another Sirtfood, parsley or make a green Sirtfood juice on days when you are consuming a lot of raw onion.
3. Do I Get the Same Benefits from Cooked Onions as I Do with Raw Onions?
No, you will certainly lose much of the nutrient content but you will still get some of the benefits so it is better to consume cooked onions than no onions at all.