Researchers find certain onions have excellent anticancer benefits

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onions(NaturalHealth365) When it comes to cancer fighting foods, onions are high on the list. But while all onions help to prevent cancer due to key chemicals and compounds, there are certain onions that have more anticancer health benefits than others, particularly when it comes to preventing the spread of colon and liver cancers.

A study conducted by Cornell University food scientists looked at 10 varieties of onion and shallots. Researchers found that the Western Yellow, pungent yellow, Northern Red and shallot varieties of onions were the highest in cancer-fighting compounds. Pungent yellow and Western Yellow were found to be especially effective against colon cancer, while shallots, Western Yellow and pungent varieties helped to combat colon cancer.

Pungent, bitter onion varieties provide strongest anti-cancer benefits

While all onions have cancer-fighting effects, these varieties in particular have very potent antioxidant properties as well as antiproliferation effects to cancer cells. They have a high flavonoid and phenolic content, and these phytochemicals contribute to higher amounts of antioxidants that provide even more protection. These powerful chemicals literally help to “mop up” free radicals that would otherwise pose a damage to cells.

Flavonoid consumption in cancer fighting foods is linked with a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes as well as lowered risk of many cancer types. Flavonoids also have anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic and antiviral qualities.

Of the 10 onion types that were tested for their ability to fight and prevent cancer, Vidalia and Western White onions had the least amount of phenolic and flavonoid content, respectively. Shallots have six times the phenolic content of Vidalia onions, and Western Yellow onions have 11 times more flavonoids than their white counterparts. That said, onions in general are one of the richest and most potent sources of healthy flavonoids that are available to us in our human diet. This makes onions one of the top cancer fighting foods you can eat.

Prevent cancer by eating more flavonoid- and phenolic-rich onions

In recent years, milder, sweeter onions have become more popular in the American diet. However, it is actually the more pungent and bitter onion varieties that have the most health benefits, including a higher content of cancer fighting flavonoid compounds.

Scientists and health professionals believe at least a third of all cases of cancer could be prevented by eating a healthier diet. Numerous studies have shown that antioxidants and phytochemicals are key to the effectiveness of many vegetables and fruits. These compounds are instrumental in fighting many cancer types as well as cardiovascular disease.

So, if you enjoy onions, now you have even more reason to add them to your favorite recipes. Favoring the Western Yellow, pungent yellow, Northern Red and shallot over other onion types will naturally bring even more antioxidant and phytochemical punch to your diet – while, at the same time, provide plenty of flavor and cancer prevention benefits to your life.



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  • Jean Oppenheim

    I always buy the sweet onions, because they are easy on the eyes and can be good in salads. This will change now that I have read this article.

  • Sebrina G

    Since, nearly every cooked dish in our house contains onions and garlic I am happy to read this. Red onions in salads is a way to add flavor and good health according to this.

  • Vicky H

    I use a lot of onion powder in my recipes. I am just wondering if that offers the same benefits? I find it a fast way to flavor a dish, when looking for a quick meal.

  • Denny Tucci

    Onion soup is my favorite at home and when out. I sure hope the restaurants use the type onions talked about in this article. In fact it is a favorite of most of the people I dine out with.