Which type of onions do you eat more often – red or white? Do you know the differences in nutritional value and health benefits? The truth is that all kinds of onions are considered a superfood. They have anti-cancer properties, as well as anti-viral and anti-bacterial components. Understanding the differences between the varieties, however, will help you make smarter nutritional choices.
The deep red layer that red onions come with affects their nutritional value. The taste of red and white onions is also different, which is why one variety is often used raw in salads and the other one is commonly cooked.
The Difference: Red Onions Vs White Onions
- White onions tend to contain slightly larger amount of dietary fiber but red onions come packed with a bigger number of healthy nutrients.
- The sharper taste of red onions is contributed to the larger quantities of antioxidants that these contain. When it comes to anti-cancer properties, red onions are considered a much more powerful superfood.
- Red onions contain more flavonoids than white onions. Quercentin is found in the red onion and this polyphenol compound is extremely powerful in terms of countering the effects that free radicals have on the body.
- The anthocyanins found in red onions are responsible for their color. This class of antioxidants is also incredibly beneficial in terms of protecting cells from oxidative stress and diminishing the risk of certain types of cancer.
- Finally, red onions contain less sugar than the white onions. This is yet another factor that contributes to their stronger, sharper taste.
Overall, red onions contain a higher amount of antioxidant compounds. They are higher in total flavonoids than white onions and yellow onions are considered to be in the middle. Red onions contain 415 to 1917 mg of flavonols compared to yellow ones, which only contain 270 to 1187 mg.
One of the most beneficial compounds in red onions is quercetin, which is a polyphenol compound. Quercetin is a powerful compound which is beneficial for scavenging free radicals in the body.
Red onions are also richer in anthocyanins which give them the red/purple color. Red onions were found to contain at least 25 different anthocyanins.
The higher amount of antioxidants properties contained in red onions compared to white, play a vitally important role in keeping cells healthy. Red onions provide stronger protection to prevent the formation of cancer. In addition, qercetin and allicin found in red onions reduce the body’s inflammatory response, which is another very important anti-cancer benefit.
Consuming larger quantities of onions will reduce the risk of suffering from oral, laryngeal, stomach, ovarian and several other types of cancer. A few studies suggest that the regular consumption of onions can reduce the risk of stomach cancer by nearly 50 percent!
Both red and white onions have the ability to make blood thinner and prevent the formation of dangerous clots.
Onions are an excellent source of sulfur and they contain large quantities of flavonoids. However, red onions are an even more beneficial and effective natural blood thinner as they are richer in flavonoids, which helps thin the blood.
How To Get The Most Benefit
A big number of beneficial ingredients and antioxidants is found in the outer layers of onions. If you over-peel before using those for the preparation of meals, you will be losing many of the nutrients and antioxidants. According to a recent study peeling the first two layers of the onion removes 75 % of the antioxidant anthocyanins.
The recommended weekly consumption is 3 onions, if you want to make the most of the antioxidants and the beneficial micro-elements. When it comes to the preparation method, eating raw onions is the best possibility.
The process of cutting onions releases beneficial enzymes but these enzymes are quite heat sensitive. A little bit of cooking will be acceptable but stick to quick thermal processing. A bit of cooking could concentrate some of the compounds found in onions but don’t overdo it.