10 Health Benefits of Onion

Medically Reviewed By DR. RASHMI GR , MBBS, Diploma in Diabetes Management February 2, 2024

Last updated on July 20th, 2023

Allium Cepa, also known as onion, is a common kitchen ingredient used to add flavor to delectable dishes. It belongs to the same Liliaceae family as garlic, leeks, and chives. But did you know that this flavorful vegetable is also high in nutrients? Yes! The onion is a vitamin and nutrient powerhouse.

These are underground and compressed roots that are grown all over the world. However, it is primarily grown in China. Every country uses these savory vegetables in their different dishes to give them a unique and mouth-watering taste. Onions are high in vitamins and minerals while low in calories.

Apart from several health benefits, onions are good for hair and skin health.

Nutrition Value of Onion

Nutrition Value of Onion

Onions are high in vitamins, particularly vitamin C, as well as minerals and antioxidants. As per onion’s nutritional value is concerned, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, its 100-gram quantity consists:

This table represents several nutrients and their amounts present in 100 g of Onion:

Nutritional Value of Onion
Nutrients (in 100 grams of Onion) Amount
Calories 40 kcal
Carbohydrates 9.3 grams
Sugars 4.2 grams
Fiber 1.7 grams
Pottasium 146 milligram

In addition to these nutrients, onions contain manganese, magnesium, folate, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and antioxidants. These nutrients are responsible for the onion’s health benefits.

Also Read: What is Diabetes Reversal Program 

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load of Onion

You will be amazed that the glycemic index and glycemic load of onions are very low. It does not impact blood sugar levels at all and is considered safe as a diabetic-friendly vegetable. According to NDTV Health, the glycemic index of onion is 10. Moreover, the glycemic load is low and is just 1 (of 1 onion). Therefore, it is undeniably acceptable for a diabetes diet food.

Also Read: Indian Diet Chart for Diabetic Patient

Health Benefits of Onion

Health Benefits of Onion

Raw onion is a low-calorie, low-sugar food that is high in vitamins and minerals. There are numerous raw onion benefits, including heart health, bone health, skin and hair health, anti-cancer properties, and blood sugar reduction. Onions have antibacterial properties that aid in the treatment of bacterial infections. The following are some of the advantages of eating raw onions:

Antibacterial Properties

In traditional medicine, onions are used as an antibacterial agent. According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, onion skin contains anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agents like quercetin, kaempferol, etc. It aids in the fight against bacterial infections that cause coughs, colds, and gut infections. The bacterial infections of E. coli and S. aureus are inhibited by onion. It is thought to help prevent stomach ulcers and colic cancer.

Also Read: What is a Dangerous Level of Blood Sugar?

Good for Heart

Onions have anti-inflammatory properties that aid in the treatment of heart disease. According to an NIH study, onions are also high in antioxidants, which help to maintain heart health. These antioxidants, particularly Quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant, control blood pressure, which is a major cause of stroke and heart disease. Raw onions also help to lower triglycerides and cholesterol, which improves blood flow and lowers the risk of heart disease.

Also Read: Manage your Diabetes Easily at Home

Antioxidant Properties

With the presence of Vitamin C, onions are filled with many antioxidants like flavonoids and anthocyanin, along with 25 other powerful antioxidants. Anthocyanin is abundant in red onions and is responsible for its red color. These antioxidants provide a variety of health benefits by inhibiting or killing free radicals. These free radicals cause chronic diseases like cancer, heart conditions, and diabetes.

Also Read: Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Anti Cancer Properties

Onions are allium vegetables like garlic and chives. These vegetables help fight against various cancers. Onions contain certain compounds like sulfur-loaded flavonoids, onions antioxidants, fisetin, quercetin, and other antioxidants. These antioxidants reduce carcinogens in the body. Thus reducing the risks of cancers. According to the Houston Methodist website, antioxidants can destroy cancer cells. It lowers the risk of stomach and colorectal cancer.

Good for Bone Health

Onions are a great source of antioxidants that prevent bone density loss and strengthen bones. According to some studies, people who consume onions on a daily basis have a lower risk of bone problems. According to the WebMD website, eating onions boosts bone mineral density while decreasing bone density loss.

Also Read: Benefits of Eating Jaggery for Diabetics

Good for Digestive Health

Onions are a high-fiber and high prebiotic diet. With its non-digestible fiber, it feeds gut bacteria. Gut bacteria break these prebiotics and create SCFAs (short-chain fatty acids). SCFAs improve the digestive system, boost immunity and promote gut health.

Good for Diabetes

It is a food for diabetics. Onion significantly lowers the body’s blood sugar levels. It contains anti-diabetic substances such as quercetin and sulfur compounds. These aid in the reduction of blood sugar levels. According to the Phablecare Health website, onions help enhance insulin secretion and sugar levels. It is also a low-calorie, low-carb, low-GI, and low-GL food, making it diabetic-friendly.

Also Read: Top Dry Fruits for Diabetics

Boosts Immunity

Onion is a good source of Vitamin C and other antioxidants that help in boosting immunity. These nutrients promote the immune system’s health to fight against various infections and diseases.

Skin & Hair Health

As onions are a rich source of Vitamin C, it helps in the production of collagen, which is essential for skin and hair health. Collagen provides firmness and anti-wrinkle qualities to the skin and also prevents hair loss. Onion extracts are used in many shampoos and hair oils as a hair loss protective remedy. Sulfur in the onions promotes collagen formation on the scalp thus preventing hair fall.

Also Read: How to Control Gestational Diabetes 

Absorbs Heat

Onion is considered a heat repellent in every Indian household. In the summer, eating or carrying onions is essential for preventing heat stroke. It is also used to treat heat stroke and is applied to the palms and soles. It is one of the most famous Dadi ka Nuskha to use in scorching summers.

Also Read: Apricots Good For Diabetes

Way to Consume Onion

Way to Consume Onion

The onion is a versatile ingredient in Indian cuisine. It has a distinct flavor due to its strong taste and smell. It is used in a variety of contexts:

  • Use raw onions as Salad with other vegetables
  • Onion gravy tadka in vegetables, non-veg cuisines, and recipes for adding flavor
  • Mix it in vegetable soups
  • Add in curd to make onion raita
  • Onion paratha as breakfast
  • Add onion slices to various snacks like sandwiches, burgers, etc.
  • Cook it with other vegetables
  • Use in some bakery products like onion garlic bread
  • Can be added to various savory dishes, meat

Also Read: Side Effects of Eating Sugar Free

Side-Effects of Onion

Although onions have numerous health benefits, there are some disadvantages to eating them. They are:

  • Even though onion allergies are uncommon, they do exist. These people may exhibit symptoms such as stomach ache, upset stomach, gastritis, heartburn, and so on. Touching them can cause allergic reactions in rare cases.
  • It gives a foul odor and bad breath
  • Some people show specific carb and fiber allergies in onions known as FODMAP.
  • Onions, as we all know, make us cry. This is due to a gas known as the lachrymatory factor. It comes out while cutting onions. Although this is common in everyone, some people may experience excessive eye and mouth irritation as a result.
  • Onion has fewer side effects in humans, but it is threatening to animals. It is lethal for pets like dogs, cats, and other animals, including monkeys and horses.

Also Read: PCOD and Diabetes

Can a Diabetic Eat Onion?

Onion has antidiabetic compounds that help in reducing blood sugar levels in the body. Quercetin and sulfur compounds are anti-diabetic compounds. They aid in the regulation of blood sugar levels. Aside from these compounds, onions benefit diabetics due to their low GI and GL. It does not cause a spike in blood sugar levels after consumption, making it the safest option for diabetics.

Also Read: Metformin Sugar Tablets Uses and Side Effects.


Onions enhance the flavor of any dish, earning them the moniker “jack of all trades.” It is used as a gravy, whole in salads, and in soups and stocks. With its strong odor and savory taste, this root vegetable elevates the appetite.

It is not only a tasty appetizer, but it also has a number of health benefits. Onion juice, raw onion, and onion gravy all have health benefits for our heart, bones, digestive system, skin, and hair. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties lower the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and so on. This also benefits hair and skin health and is found in a variety of cosmetic and beauty products.

Also Read: Diabetic Neuropathy Causes and Complications 


Does onion make you sleep?

Onions have an amino acid called L-tryptophan which is sedative in nature. This is beneficial for people who have trouble sleeping. Eating onions can make you feel sleepy. It is suggested that having onion with curd can give you a good sleep. It eases your anxiety and stress levels and allows you to sleep peacefully.

Can I eat onion every day?

Onions are a rich source of antioxidants, sulfur compounds, minerals, and anti-inflammatory compounds. These properties make it a healthy food diet to consume every day. These nutrients help in improving heart health, digestive health, blood sugar levels, and skin and hair health, reducing the risks of cancer and chronic diseases. It also lowers the risk of stroke and blood clotting by improving cholesterol and maintaining blood pressure.

Is onion good for blood glucose levels?

Onion has antidiabetic compounds that help in reducing blood sugar levels in the body. These antidiabetic compounds are quercetin and sulfur compounds. They aid in the regulation of blood sugar levels. Aside from these compounds, onions benefit diabetics due to their low GI and GL. It does not cause a spike in blood sugar levels after consumption, making it the safest option for diabetics.

Can onions stop hair fall?

Onion is rich in sulfur which helps to improve scalp health. Applying onion juice to the scalp nourishes the scalp and reduces hair fall. Sulfur is important for collagen production which is an essential nutrient to promote hair growth and prevent hair loss. As a result, it can prevent hair loss.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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