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Eating red onions ‘can prevent cancer’ and could protect against diabetes and heart disease

Eating plenty of red onions could prevent cancer , according to new research.

The vegetable, popular in salads and salsas, is rich in chemicals that destroy tumour cells, say scientists.

And the discovery may soon lead to an anti-cancer pill based on the food’s magical properties.

It is known people with the highest consumption of onions have a lower risk of many types of the disease – including ovarian, bowel and breast cancer .

They contain several anti-cancer compounds including quercetin and anthocyanins – which, crucially, give the red variety their colour.

Abdulmonem Murayyan, a PhD student at the University of Guelph in Canada, said: “Anthocyanin is instrumental in providing colour to fruits and vegetables.

“So it makes sense the red onions, which are darkest in colour, would have the most cancer fighting power.”

In the first study of its kind Mr Murayyan and engineering Professor Suresh Neethirajan found red onions have the strongest cancer fighting power.

The vegetable has been used in mediterranean cooking for thousands of years, which could help explain lower rates of the disease in southern Europe.

Diced in a side salad, sprinkled as a garnish or chopped through a pasta dish, they may just be one of the best raw ingredients you can eat.

Red onions have also been linked with protecting against diabetes and heart disease .

The researchers said onions as a superfood are still not well known, despite containing one of the highest concentrations of quercetin, a type of flavonoid.

But not all are created equal because the red onion not only has high levels of this but also large amounts of anthocyanin, which boosts the scavenging properties of quercetin, explained Mr Murayyan.

Along with Prof Neethirajan, he tested five onion types grown in Ontario and discovered the Ruby Ring red came out on top.


In lab experiments reported in Food Research International, colon cancer cells were placed in direct contact with quercetin extracted from the five different onion varieties.

Mr Murayyan said: “We found onions are excellent at killing cancer cells. Onions activate pathways that encourage cancer cells to undergo cell death.

“They promote an unfavourable environment for cancer cells and they disrupt communication between cancer cells, which inhibits growth.”

The researchers have also recently found onions are effective at killing breast cancer cells.

But they expect onion extract will eventually be added to food products such as juice or baked goods – and be sold in pill form as a type of natural cancer treatment.

Experts say it is best, where possible, to eat red onions in their raw state as cooking them in any manner can kill off the goodness.

If you are diabetic, you should eat raw red onions as these help increase insulin levels.

In Europe and Asia, red onions and raw garlic are often encouraged amongst diabetics.

Red onions are a fibrous vegetable, which helps your digestive track move things along. One onion contains roughly 1.5 grams of fibre.

Source : mirror

Collected by RG


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