Can you eat a raw onion? (1 illness it will protect against)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can you eat a raw onion? We will discuss the benefits of eating raw onions over cooked. We also discuss the biochemistry which enables a positive impact on health and some ailments that onions are capable of protecting us against.

Can you eat a raw onion?

You can eat a raw onion. Raw onion is better for health than cooked, due to its high sulfur content. Cooking destroys the heat sensitive health-compounds in the onion which reduces the benefits that they offer. Onions must not be cooked for longer than 30 minutes, to avoid losing most of its nutritional value. Lightly cooked onions, on the other hand, are beneficial to health owing to the increase in antioxidants such as quercetin. 

One significant health appeal of onions is preventing platelets aggregation in the blood. According to research, cooking onions to any degree annihilates the astounding effect that raw onions tend to have on preventing agglomeration of platelets, hence prevent a person from certain ailments such as thrombosis.

Let us take an overview of the onion:

Onion belongs to the family of pungent vegetables which include garlic, shallots, and leeks. The onions come in an ample of varieties from red, white and purple. The Allium Family of the sulfur-rich vegetable also include garlic, which is also known for its distinctive and overpowering taste.

What are the health benefits of eating raw onions?

Onions protect the body against cancer, heart diseases, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Onions are a rich source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Manganese, copper, potassium and proteins. 

A compound called quercetin in onions are a powerful antioxidant which protects the body against cancer, in particular the risk of developing lung cancer. Onions also have flavonoids, sulphuric compounds and phytochemicals. 

Phytochemicals such as disulfides, trisulfides, cepaene and vinyl dithiins have anticancer and antimicrobial properties. 

Onion is one of the best health foods because it has both antioxidants and amino acids. The compounds together play an immense role in keeping the body in its best shape and health possible. 

Onions are also proven to promote the production of insulin, hence, help a person to manage diabetes. A soluble fiber called oligofructose helps prevent diarrhea by keeping the gut healthy.

Benefits of Sulfur in onions:

Sulfur compounds contain amino acids. Amino acids form the building blocks of proteins which are essential to build new cell structures. 

The sulfur compounds are responsible for lowering cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease and stroke. The build-up plaque in the heart arteries is hindered by quercetin compound, consequently protecting against a heart attack. Onions play an overwhelming role in cholesterol management. A compound called oxylipins increases in the body and helps to maintain cholesterol and blood fat. 

Stroke is caused when the blood platelets clot and causes thrombosis. Sulfur thins the blood and prevents the clustering of platelets in the bloodstream.

Benefits of Quercetin in onions:

Quercetin, belong to the pigment called flavonoids, which protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The greater amount of onion you consume, the lower the risk of contracting degenerative diseases.

Quercetin reduces the risk of developing a bladder infection, prostate health, and blood pressure. Quercetin also reduces inflammatory diseases such as asthma and provides relief to the airway muscles. It also works against allergies and breathing difficulties by inhibiting the production of anti-histamines.

Quercetin is an anti-cancer compound that inhibits various kinds of cancer ranging from breast, colon, prostate, ovarian, endometrial, and lung tumors. Another similar research proved that eating onions regularly protecting from colorectal, laryngeal, and ovarian cancer.

Other FAQs about Onions that you may be interested in.

How long do cooked onions last?

How long do diced onions last?

Are onions poisonous the next day?

What are some factors to consider relevant to onion consumption?

The sulfur compounds in the onion vegetable give off an unpleasant and pungent smell. When you eat onions in their raw form, it causes the body to give off unpleasant odors. Eating onions can cause bad breath and bad body odor.

Onions can also cause gastrointestinal discomfort in some people. If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, onions can cause you to have bloating and gas.

People who experience gastric discomfort or chronic heartburn can have some distress after eating onions. People who are on blood-thinning drugs can get a counter effect due to the presence of vitamin K.

How to enjoy raw onions as part of your diet?

Raw onions can be added to salads, sandwiches, or sprinkled onto soup. Raw onions also work great in sauces, dips, and chutneys. You can make guacamole, Thai dipping, Greek salad, or Cuban salad. A soup called gazpacho, contains onion and garlic, with tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, herbs, and other seasonings. 

In this brief guide, we answered the question, can you eat a raw onion? We discussed the benefits of eating raw onions overcooked. We also discussed biochemistry which enables a positive impact on health and some ailments that onions are capable of protecting us against.


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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.