Indian cuisines are almost incomplete without the use of onions. Be it a vegetable dish or a spicy curry, onions are a key ingredient in preparing the dish. Besides enhancing the taste, it is said to hold several health benefits. But the debate whether it should be eaten cooked or raw is ongoing and in this article, we will try to find out which is a more nutritious solution. Speaking with the OnlyMyHealth team, Dr Soumita Biswas, Chief Nutritionist, Aster RV Hospital, Bengaluru, will help us crack this query.
Health Benefits Of Eating Onions
Onions have a wide variety of nutrients, which is why it provides us with several health benefits. According to the US Department of Agriculture, one medium onion, which is equal to 110 grams, contains:
Also Read: 7 Health Benefits Of Eating Raw Onions
Protein: 1.2 g
Carbs: 10.3 g
Potassium: 3.4% of Daily Value (DV)
Vitamin C: 9% of the DV
Sugar: 4.7 g
Fibre: 1.9 g
Fat: 0.1 g
Due to its rich vitamin C content, it is said to help boost immunity, facilitate iron absorption, and help in the production of collagen, which is great for skin health.
Additionally, it contains antioxidants, which help protect healthy cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals; hence, reducing the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Onions are also among the allium vegetables that flavanols and organosulfur compounds are said to hamper the development of cancer, as per research. A study published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology found consuming higher amounts of allium vegetables may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
Adding to the list of benefits, Dr Biswas says, “Both the quercetin and organic sulphur compounds found in onions are known to promote insulin production, making them a helpful vegetable choice for those with diabetes.”
“Organic sulphur compounds in the onions also help reduce the level of cholesterol in the body and may also help break down blood clots, thus reducing risk for heart disease and stroke,” she adds.
Raw Vs. Cooked: Which Is Better Way To Eat Your Onions
There are two main ways to consume your onions. You can have it cooked or raw. Although the choice is completely up to the individual’s taste and preference, Dr Biswas shares that it's better to eat onions raw rather than cooked to get maximum sulphur compounds out of them.
That is because raw onions contain several nutritional properties, which get lost during the cooking process.
When you cut, crush, or chop onions, it undergoes an enzymatic response that leads to the formation of sulphur compounds. These are the same compounds that make your eyes water and hold several benefits, such as breaking down blood clots, reducing the risk of stroke or heart disease, protecting against cancer, and lowering blood sugar levels.
Cooking onions can lower nutritional value, depriving you of certain important nutrients.
Side-Effects Of Eating Raw Onions
Although eating raw onions is said to be more beneficial than eating it cooked, there are certain side effects to note. These include:
- Acidity and heartburn
- Bad breath, also known as halitosis
- People with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may experience aggravated symptoms like bloating, cramping, and gas
- Increased risk of bleeding as onions have anticoagulant properties
Onions have multiple health benefits and reaping them may depend on how you choose to eat them. According to our expert, one can get maximum health advantage from onions either by eating them raw or by cooking them mildly. However, at the end of the day, it depends on your individual preference, taste, and circumstances.