Purple onions, also called red onions, are members of the allium family.
With purplish-red skin and white and red flesh, they were developed in the US in the early 20th century and have been popularized recently because of their culinary appeal.
Purple onions are great at keeping you satiated and energized.
These low-calorie vegetables are also loaded with nutrients like vitamins B, C, and potassium.
One medium onion has just 30 calories but it delivers a significant amount of these nutrients.
Purple onions have a host of health benefits such as:
1. Rich in nutrients
Purple onions are vegetables with a high amount of vitamin C, a nutrient that is essential for regulating the immune system and tissue repair.
Vitamin C helps protect your cells against damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals.
Purple onions are also high in B vitamins, including folate and pyridoxine.
Folate is vital for the production of new cells and the ability to carry out energy-intensive tasks.
Lastly, purple onions are a good source of potassium.
Potassium is important for the body because it aids in the transport of sodium across cell membranes, helping to maintain balance within cells.
The average potassium intake of Americans is a mere 2,600 mg, approximately half of the recommended daily intake.
2. May help in regulating blood sugar
Eating purple onions may help control blood sugar, for people with diabetes or prediabetes.
Furthermore, several animal studies have demonstrated that onion consumption may help control blood sugar.
Purple onion compounds such as quercetin and sulfur compounds can be great for managing diabetes.
Quercetin has been shown to help balance blood sugar levels in different parts of the body, including the small intestine, pancreas, skeletal muscle, and fat tissue.
3. Improves digestive health
Purple onions are rich in fiber and prebiotics. Prebiotics are fibrous foods that are fermented by your gut’s healthy bacteria called probiotics.
Prebiotics feed the good bacteria in your gut, creating short-chain fatty acids including acetate, propionate, and butyrate.
Studies have shown that short-chain fatty acids act to strengthen gut health, increase immunity, reduce inflammation and improve digestion.
Adding prebiotics to your diet can also help boost your good gut bacteria.
Prebiotics are actually dietary fibers that feed important probiotic strains such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. With prebiotics, these good gut bacteria will proliferate, helping you maintain a healthy digestive system.
4. Beneficial for heart health
Onions contain antioxidants and compounds that fight inflammation in the body and reduce cholesterol levels, lowering the risk of heart disease.
The anti-inflammatory compounds in purple onion may also aid in managing blood pressure which reduces the risks of creating blood clots in arteries.
The antioxidant quercetin is present in high amounts in purple onions. Antioxidants protect our body, cells, and tissues from damage by free radicals. Free radicals can be caused by poor diet, environmental toxins, industrial chemicals, and medication.
Antioxidants balance the number of free radicals in our bodies, preventing cellular damage and helping us recover from tissue damage.
Studies show that people who took quercetin extract every day had improved blood pressure. (Source)
Studies have also shown that including purple onions may reduce bad cholesterol in the body which is another risk factor that could lead to heart diseases.
5. Beneficial for bone health
Onions are loaded with anti-inflammatory compounds such as quercetin which also aids in maintaining bone density.
Quercetin inhibits the development of cells that break down the density of bone known as osteoclasts, preserving bone mass and helping maintain a healthy musculoskeletal structure.
Purple onions are also rich in compounds necessary to produce something known as glutathione, another antioxidant that prevents damage in arterial cells and collagen damage in the bone.
6. Contains anti-cancer properties
Many studies have investigated the links between dietary onion consumption and cancer and most have come to the same conclusion – that onions can help to ward off cancers and may be an effective preventative measure.
This anti-cancer link is due to the onions’ high levels of antioxidants, which have been linked to slowing the growth of many types of cancer, as well as providing protection against DNA damage.
Most healthy cells use the soluble, high water content in onions as a source of energy.
When you cook onions in oil, you reduce the volume of water, leaving behind high amounts of monounsaturated fat which is good for your health.
Monounsaturated fat is considered one of the “good” fat types. It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and helping reduce inflammation, reducing the risk of cancer.
To find out whether purple onions are healthier than white onions let’s compare the nutrient content between the two.
Are purple onions healthier than white onions?
Purple onions and white onions have very similar nutritional profiles, both being powerful superfoods with antiviral and antioxidant qualities.
However, purple onions are higher in antioxidants like quercetin and anthocyanins that give them the purplish-red color.
Overall, purple onions are shown to have higher levels of antioxidants.
They are higher in total flavonoids compared to white or yellow onions.
Purple onions are known for being sweeter than white onions.
They also contain compounds that help to lower the risk of heart diseases.
Both purple onion and white onion are important ingredients in many recipes.
However, they do have their own benefits and disadvantages.
Purple onion nutrition facts
Purple onions are rich in antioxidants such as quercetin and have a long history of use in traditional medicine, where they are claimed to reduce oxidative stress in the body.
In addition, they are an excellent source of vitamins B, C, and potassium.
Purple onions contain high levels of quercetin and anthocyanins, both strong antioxidants which may help to prevent damage to cells and slow or reverse its onset.
Here is the nutritional content of one medium-sized onion weighing 197grams.
|Vitamin C||8 g|
How many carbs are in a purple onion?
100g of purple onions contain about 7g of carbs, a mere fraction of the recommended daily intake of 225 grams to 325 grams.
Purple onions will suit a low-carb or ketogenic diet well.
Purple onion also contains vitamins and minerals such as potassium, Vitamin C, B6, and folate.
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy and the primary nutrient in our cells.
Carbohydrates are a macronutrient and a major source of energy for the body.
There are two kinds of carbohydrates; simple, and complex.
Simple carbs are made up of one sugar, glucose. Simple carbs are found in white bread, potatoes, pasta, white rice, and sugar cane.
Complex carbs are formed by combining two or more simple carbs together, also called polysaccharides.
These are found in fruits, vegetables, fruit juices, whole grains, and most beans, legumes, and nuts.
Complex carbohydrates slowly release energy over time while simple carbs can spike blood sugar levels.
Complex carbs pack in more nutrients and are higher in fiber, causing them to be digested more slowly and making them ideal for weight loss.
In addition, they are also excellent at controlling blood sugar levels, making them a great choice for people with type-2 diabetes.
I’m Chris Watson & the Founder of EatForLonger.com. I’m a food and wellbeing enthusiast researching and sharing foodstuffs and simple food-based concepts, such as fasting and clean eating.
I hope it inspires you to make tiny changes to what you eat and when you eat while optimizing your healthspan and all-around well-being.
Read more About Me here.