The Super Powers of Onions and How to Eat More Of Them

A good family friend once told my mom the “secret” trick she often used to make her family think that there was some delicious magic happening in the kitchen. It’s simple she said…All you need to do is chop an onion and saute it in a pan with a little olive oil, and the smell in the house will make everybody think you’re a master chef at work. It works every time. Onions are a true superfood. Learn why below…


Yes, onions may make you cry but these should be tears of joy! Onions (Allium cepa L) are not only an inexpensive option for adding great flavor to meals, but they also hold great therapeutic value. 

Onions grow partially underground as root bulbs. They are known as bulb onions and common onions and are a close relative to garlic, chives, shallots, and leeks.

Allium vegetables contain powerful therapeutic oils that hold sulfur compounds which give onions their signature taste and smell. These compounds are also responsible for their numerous health benefits.

In fact, have you ever wondered why onions make you cry? It is because when you cut them you are cutting through the cell membranes that hold the sulfur compounds, or alkenyl cysteine sulphoxides (ACOS). Imagine, the same compounds that make you cry are powerful remedies that contain natural antibiotics and have anti-carcinogenic, blood thinning, and anti-asthmatic properties.

Other flavonoids found in onions like quercetin and anthocyanins also have impressive therapeutic value.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the superpowers of onions that help make them so much more than a culinary delight:

Cancer: Simply consuming onions a few times a week appears to provide protection from cancer. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that the more regularly one consumes onions along with other vegetables in the allium family, the lower the risk of some common cancers.

Heart Health: Onions help reduce the risk of blood clots forming. In addition, they can protect against bad cholesterol (LDL) by lowering oxidative stress in blood vessels and improving blood circulation and blood pressure levels.

Diabetes: According to research, onions are effective at lowering plasma glucose concentrations and body weight which help keep diabetes from developing. Onions contain chromium which is beneficial for controlling blood sugar and preventing diabetes.


Arthritis and Asthma: Onions have potent anti-inflammatory properties including quercetin which is why the National Arthritis Foundation endorses them. Quercetin also helps to reduce inflammation that attributes to asthma.

Bones: Onions can help improve mineral density in the bones which can reduce the risk of fractures by more than 20%. According to a study conducted by the Department of Family Medicine at the University of South Carolina, women who consumed onions had higher bone density than those who did not consume them.

Respiratory Infections: When you are down because of a cold, let onions come to the rescue. The phytonutrients in onions give the immune system a boost, fight inflammation, and reduce mucus that takes up residence in the lungs, nasal passages and respiratory system. So, along with your chicken soup prescribed by your mother – whip up a batch of onion soup, and you will be back in the game in no time.

The Best Onion Soup Ever
Serves: 6–8


  • 4 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 cups broth (vegetable, chicken, beef, or bone broth)
  • 4 tablespoons ghee (butter will work too)
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Melt ghee and onions in a stock pot over medium heat.
  2. Cook the onions until caramelized.
  3. Add broth and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30-50 minutes. The longer the simmer, the bigger the flavor.

-The UpWellness Team