When it comes to onions, we have plenty of choices, red, yellow, or white. Have you ever wondered which type of onion is healthier?
Both types of onions are powerful superfoods with anti-carcinogenic, antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. Onions are packed with beneficial nutrients and compounds.
Many think that the only difference is the appearance and taste, but when you examine the nutritional differences of red onions vs white onions, one contains more health benefits than the other.
Red onions have a deep purple layer of outer skin and are most often used raw, in salads, sandwiches, or dips. White onions have a more mild flavour and an off white or white coloured skin.
What’s the difference red onions vs white onions
There are quite a few things in common between both red and white onions. Both types of onions are considered low on the glycemic index, with a rating of 10. They both also provide about 10 percent of the daily value for vitamin C and the same amount of calcium per serving.
Although white onions contain .5 more grams of fiber and a higher amount of sulfur, red onions have been found to contain a higher amount of many other beneficial nutrients.
In general, the rule is that onions with a sharply strong taste, such as red onions, contain a higher amount of antioxidants. Red onions also win in the category of cancer prevention and blood thinning properties. Additionally, red onions contain less sugar compared to white onions, which is where they get their sweet taste from.
– Antioxidant properties
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 1917mg 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.
– Cancer fighting
Due to the high amount of antioxidant properties contained in red onions compared to white, red onions provide stronger protection against cancer.
The quercetin and allicin in red onions have been shown to reduce inflammation and be beneficial for both the prevention and treatment of cancer.
Studies have shown that the consumption of onions reduces the risk of stomach, colorectal, oral, laryngeal, esophageal and ovarian cancer. According to one study, the risk of stomach cancer was reduced by 50% when half an onion was eaten daily.
– Blood thinning
Both types of onions have blood thinning properties as they contain a high amount of flavonoids and sulfur compounds. However, red onions are an even more effective natural blood thinner as they are richer in flavonoids, which helps thin the blood.
How to get the most benefit
The level of antioxidant flavonoids has been found to be much higher in the outer most layers of the onion. So make sure not to over peel, those outer layers have the most nutrients. According to a recent study peeling the first two layers of the onion removes 75 % of the antioxidant anthocyanins.
Make sure to get enough servings of onions into your diet, it is recommended that individuals eat at least 3 onions every week to get optimal benefits for preventing cancer.
For most benefit, make sure to include a variety of onions in your diet, but especially make sure to have at least one red onion a week. So, pull out your red onions and whip up a dish to throw them in!