Effects of Onions in Cancer Prevention

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Hello. How’s the week going? Today we are talking about a vegetable with great benefits, which a lot of people do not eat raw because of its smell. I’m talking about the Onions which is one of the ‘Super Foods’. Why is it super, you may ask: read further.

An onion is a rounded edible bulb with hard pungent flesh in concentric layers beneath a flaky brown skin. It can be eaten raw or cooked as a vegetable. Now, most people do not usually eat the onion raw because of the fear of bad breath. There is a remedy to that so you don’t miss the great benefits of onions to your body, one of which is Cancer Prevention as research as shown.

Overview of Onions and Cancer

Approximately 30% to 40% of cancers are preventable by appropriate food and nutrition, physical activity, and maintenance of healthy body weight. This means choosing foods that help to maintain a healthy body weight, reducing consumption of foods such as red or processed meats that may increase cancer risk, and increasing consumption of foods that may decrease cancer risk, including foods of plant origin. There is an increasing public health demand to identify those dietary patterns, bioactive foods, and components that may decrease cancer risk. One particular group of foods that has raised considerable interest for their putative cancer-preventive properties is the Allium genus which consists of onions and garlic.

Onions are a nutritional powerhouse. In addition to healthful flavonoids and sulfur-containing compounds, onions contribute potassium, vitamin C, folic acid, zinc, selenium, and fiber to the diet. They are also fat-free, cholesterol-free, and low in sodium. Onions make a delicious addition to all kinds of dishes, including soups and stews; meats and poultry; salads and sandwiches; as well as sauces and garnishes.

Now, let’s check out the health benefits of the onions

Onions protect against high blood pressure and have been shown to help prevent bacterial infection. Other benefits are

  • Support for Bone and Connective Tissue
  • Cardiovascular Benefits
  • Reduce Blood Sugar Levels
  • Promotes Gastrointestinal Health
  • Good for Skin
  • Stimulate Hair Growth
  • Maintain Bone Health
  • Remedy for Cold and Flu
  • Improve Digestive Function
  • Relieve Tooth Disorders

Onions in Cancer Prevention

Onion extract is rich in a variety of sulfides, which provide some protection against tumor growth. Some studies showed regular consumption of onions helps to reduce the risk of several cancers such as colorectal cancer, oral cancer, laryngeal cancer, stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, and ovarian cancer. It is suggested to consume one onion serving per day (approximately 1/2 cup). A key property of onions and other members of the onion family is their ability to help prevent and manage a variety of cancers, as research has revealed.

Several studies indicate that onions can effectively prevent stomach cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer death worldwide. The protective effects of this vegetable have also shown promise in esophageal cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian, kidney, and oral cancers. Onion has repeatedly been shown to lower our risk of several cancers, even when we consume it in only moderate amounts. “Moderate” generally means 1-2 times per week, even though in some studies it has been used to mean up to 5-6 times per week.

If bad breath is the only thing keeping you from enjoying the broad benefits of onions, get your mint ready to freshen up your breath after a meal!


World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research. Food, nutrition, physical activity, and the prevention of cancer: a global perspective. Washington DC: AICR; 2007.



Galeone C, Pelucchi C, Levi F, et al. Onion and garlic use and human cancer. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Nov;84(5):1027-32.

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