Nutritional Value Of Onions

Facts about the Nutritional Value of Onions

Their versatility and delicious flavor often causes the nutritional value of onions to be overlooked by people, but there is a great number of health benefits included within this pungent vegetable.

The humble onion

It is thought that the onion was found thousands of years ago on just about every continent, growing wild.  It did not have a wide following initially, likely due to its sharp and overpowering flavor and scent.  However, the vegetable was recognized as being highly storable through long winter months, and therefore became a staple in many diets.

Early on, health benefits of the onion were embraced by people of different cultures.  Physicians used the onion as a form of medicine; prescribing its consumption as a treatment for headache and even snakebite.   In ancient Greece, athletes ate great amounts of the vegetable believing it had powers to balance the blood.  While these examples and more offer that early civilization was on the right track about the health attributes of the onion, more modern research has extended the beneficial properties of the vegetable even more.

Health benefits

Onions contain many types of sulfuric components, including sulfoxides, sulfides and thiosulfinates.  These are the elements that cause the familiar side effects of onions; watery and itchy eyes.  While this feature can be downright annoying, the sulfurs also provide many beneficial traits.  There are numerous bacteria that are defeated by these properties, such as Bacillus subtilis, E. coli and salmonella.

Although the sulfurs present irritation on the exterior, they provide the exact opposite in the interior of the body.  It is believed that blood pressure and blood lipids are able to be lowered through the consumption of onions.  Even some types of cancer are thwarted when the extract of the vegetable is ingested; proven in the fact that cultures where the consumption of onion and garlic are higher also experience much lower risk of stomach cancer.

Nutritional value of onions

Medicinal properties aside, the onion has many nutrients that assist in boosting good health.  Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, manganese, and phosphorus all play an important role in the human body in a variety of different applications.  Vitamins are also essential elements for human health, and onions possess a large array of these such as choline, chromium, vitamin C, folate, niacin, riboflavin, vitamins A and B6 and carotene among others.  Onions contain protein, energy, carbohydrates, glucose and fiber, as well having a high content of water.


Despite the fact that onions are jam packed with nutrients, they are extremely low in calories.  One cup of raw onions is merely 65 calories.

Culinary use for onions

Onions are a versatile vegetable.  It can be the featured element in a recipe, such as French onion soup or an onion tart.  As a side dish, the onion can enhance the entrée; sautéed onions with steak, for example, or deep fried onion rings served with a hamburger.  The pungent vegetable can be an accompaniment to a meal, or an ingredient within a recipe. Tasty dips and spreads can be concocted when combining onions with sour cream and cream cheese.  It can be eaten raw or cooked.  Its flavor can even be enjoyed baked within breads, cakes and bagels.

This vegetable can be prepared in a variety of different ways, as well.  Fried, sautéed, baked, boiled, grilled; pickled or fresh; the onion has many facets that make it a valuable addition to any kitchen.

Because of the delicious properties of the vegetable, many people tend to forget the fact that there is a high nutritional value of onions to be considered.  That may not be such a bad thing, since it is often easier for people to eat foods they enjoy rather than those which are good for them.