Health Benefits Onions - Nutritional Value of Onions Raw and Cooked

Onions are one of the oldest vegetables consumed by mankind. The health benefits of onions are outstanding, both for raw and cooked onions.

Onions are used in a plethora of recipes for curries, stir-fries. Onions are perhaps one of the most universal of all common ingredients. They can be added raw to your favorite salad or homemade pizzapasta saucestir fries or curries.

There are huge range of onion varieties, each with their own color, flavor and culinary use - red, yellow, purple, white and green. Onions can be eaten raw, and cooked by sauteeing, steaming, boiling, grilling, barbecuing and roasting, and can be cooked in the microwave.

They are frequently used to flavor all sorts of side dishes such as dips, soups, spreads, salads, and various baked dishes.

Onions (Allium cepa) belong to the lily family, and are related to garlic, leeks, chives, scallions and shallots.

The sharp, strong smell and acidic taste of onions is due to its sulfur compound allyl propyl disulphide.

The sulfur compounds are released in the air as volatile compounds when the onion is cut or sliced. When these compounds reach your eyes they dissolve in the liquid and make sulfuric acid that causes the burning and irritation.

The Spanish red onions have a milder flavor than brown or white onions, which makes them ideal for adding raw onion to salads.

This article summarizes the health benefits of onions by showcasing their nutritional values in comparison with related vegetables - garlic, chives, leeks, shallots, spring onions or scallions and alternative vegetables - fennel, bulb and artichoke.

Onions are a remarkable health food because they keep so well and can be used all through the year for a variety of dishes.
Onions are a remarkable health food because they keep so well and can be used all through the year for a variety of dishes. Source: Public Domain

Health Benefits of Onions 

The first table shown below, summarizes the nutrients in onions compared with close relative garlic and chives (all for 100 g).

This may be misleading because people eat a lot more onions than garlic or chives. This needs to be taken into account when assessing the relative value o onions. The second table compares the nutrients in a range of other vegetables - spring onions or scallions, leeks, shallots, fennel bulb and artichoke.

Uses of Onions

Raw onions keep very well and are readily available throughout the year. There are lots of varieties to choose from so that you can match their sharp, spicy, tangy and pungent odor and flavors to the dishes you are preparing. Red onions, for example tend to be milder and sweeter and white onions are milder than brown varieties.

While buying onions, choose firm-textured fresh looking onions that are clean, well shaped and have crispy, dry outer skins that are not damaged.

Avoid onions that show signs of sprouting or any signs of black spots or black mold which indicates that the onions are not fresh and have started to deteriorate. If you can get the retailer to cut one open to check that there is no brownness inside

Store the onions in cool dark place free from moisture and humidity. They can be kept for longer in the refrigerator.

Preparation of Onions and Serving Methods

Cut both the ends off using a sharp knife. Then remove the outer 2-3 layers of skin and outer whorls to remove the discolored ones. For stir-fries slice them vertically and coarsely so that the pieces are quite large. For salads and when the onions are to be eaten raw. slice them cross-ways and thinly so that they don't overpower the other items in the salad.

Home Cooking and Serving Tips for Onions

Nutritional Data for 100 g of Raw Onions, Garlic and Chives

 
Onion
Onion
Garlic
Chives
Serving 100 g
Nutrient Value
% recommended Daily Allowance
Nutrient Value
Nutrient Value
Energy
40 Cal
2%
149 Cal
30 Cal
Carbohydrates
9.34 g
7%
33.06 g
4.35 g
Protein
1.10 g
2%
6.36 g
3.27 g
Total Fat
0.10 g
1%
0.5 g
0.73 g
Cholesterol
0 mg
0%
0 mg
0 mg
Dietary Fiber
1.7 g
5%
2.1 g
2.5 g
Vitamins
 
 
 
 
Folates
19 mcg
5%
3 mcg
105 mcg
Niacin
0.12 mg
1%
0.70 mg
0.65 mg
Pantothenic acid
0.12 mg
3%
0.6 mg
0.32 mg
Pyridoxine
0.12 mg
9%
1.23 mg
0.14 mg
Riboflavin
0.03 mg
2%
0.11 mg
0.11 mg
Thiamin
0.05mg
4%
0.20 mg
0.08 mg
Vitamin A
2 IU
0%
9 IU
4353 IU
Vitamin C
7.4 mg
12%
31.2 mg
58.1 mg
Vitamin E
0.02 mg
0%
0.08 mg
0.21 mg
Electrolytes
 
 
 
 
Sodium
4 mg
0%
153 mg
3 mg
Potassium
146 mg
3%
401 mg
296 mg
Minerals
 
 
 
 
Calcium
23 mg
2%
181 mg
92 mg
Copper
0.04 mg
4%
0.3 mg
0.16 mg
Iron
0.2 mg
3%
1.70 mg
1.60 mg
Magnesium
10 mg
3%
25 mg
42 mg
Manganese
0.13 mg
6%
1.67 mg
0.37 mg
Phosphorus
29 mg
4%
153 mg
58 mg
Zinc
0.17 mg
2%
1.16 mg
0.56 mg
Phyto-nutrients
 
 
 
 
Carotene-beta
1 mcg
--
5 mcg
2612 mcg
Cryptoxanthin-beta
0 mcg
--
0 mcg
0 mcg
Lutein-zeaxanthin
4 mcg
--
16 mcg
323 mcg

Comparison of Cooked and Uncooked Onion with Similar Vegetables

Serving 100 g
Onions
Onions (cooked, sauteed)
Leeks
Shallots
Onions, spring or scallions
Fennel, bulb
Artichoke
Macronutrients
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Calories (kcal)
40
132
64
70
32
30
47
Protein (g)
1.10
0.95
1.50
2.50
1.84
1.26
3.27
Total Fat (g)
0.10
10.68
0.32
0.10
0.20
0.21
0.15
Total Carbohydrates (g)
9.35
7.77
14.32
16.80
7.32
7.37
10.51
Dietary Fiber (g)
1.75
1.82
1.82
 
2.80
3.02
5.39
Sugar (g)
4.25
 
3.95
 
2.32
 
0.99
Vitamins
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vitamin C (mg)
7.50
1.82
12.27
8.00
18.80
12.09
11.72
Thiamin (mg)
0.05
0.05
0.06
0.06
0.06
0.01
0.07
Riboflavin (mg)
0.03
0.04
0.03
0.02
0.08
0.03
0.07
Niacin (mg)
0.12
0.04
0.40
0.20
0.52
0.65
1.05
Pantothenic Acid (mg)
0.12
0.17
0.14
0.29
0.08
0.23
0.34
Vitamin B6 (mg)
0.12
0.20
0.24
0.34
0.06
0.05
0.12
Folate (mcg)
20.00
0.00
63.64
30.00
64.00
27.91
67.97
Vitamin B12 (mcg)
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
Vitamin A (IU)
3
 
1686
1190
996
135
13
Vitamin E (mg)
0.03
0.68
0.91
 
0.56
 
0.19
Vitamin K (mcg)
0.50
21.36
47.73
 
207.20
 
14.77
Minerals
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Calcium (mg)
22.50
18.18
59.09
40.00
72.00
48.84
43.75
Iron (mg)
0.20
0.27
2.14
1.20
1.48
0.74
1.28
Magnesium (mg)
10.00
9.09
27.27
20.00
20.00
16.28
60.16
Phosphorus (mg)
30.00
31.82
36.36
60.00
36.00
51.16
89.84
Potassium (mg)
145.00
131.82
181.82
330.00
276.00
418.60
370.31
Sodium (mg)
5.00
13.64
18.18
10.00
16.00
53.49
93.75
Zinc (mg)
0.18
0.23
0.14
0.40
0.40
0.21
0.49
Copper (mg)
0.04
0.02
0.12
0.09
0.08
0.07
0.23
Manganese (mg)
0.13
0.10
0.49
0.29
0.16
0.19
0.26
Selenium (mcg)
0.50
 
0.91
1.00
0.40
0.70
0.23
Fatty Acids
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Saturated Fat (g)
0.04
1.46
0.04
0.02
0.03
 
0.04
Monounsaturated Fat (g)
0.01
2.16
0.00
0.01
0.03
 
0.00
Polyunsaturated Fat (g)
0.02
5.41
0.17
0.04
0.07
 
0.06

Best Ever Onions Recipes

Caramelised Onion Recipe with Goat’s Butter Pasta

This simple dish pairs the earthy creaminess of goat’s butter and cheese with the sweetness of caramelised onions.

Ingredients

Method

Sprinkle the sliced onion liberally with the salt. Fry over a low heat in a heavy frying pan, stirring often, until the onions are a light brown-gold colour. Next cook the pasta until al dente. Then add the pasta to the pan and add the butter, onion and half the cheese. Toss well and cook briefly. Divide between warmed bowls and serve hot with the remaining cheese scattered on top.

Classic French Onion Soup Recipe

Ingredients

Method

Melt the butter in a large heavy frying pan or Dutch oven over moderate heat. Add the onions, bay leaves, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and fry until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, and lower the heat to low and simmer gently until the wine has evaporated and the onions are quite dry (about 5-10 minutes). Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Dust the onions with a little flour and mix well. Lower the heat to moderate-low and cook for 10 minutes to eliminate the raw flour taste.Next add the beef broth, and heat the soup to a gentle simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer, sprinkle with Gruyere and broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Serve hot with fresh crusty bread, baguette slices or toast, topping with sprigs of fresh herbs.

Whole Roasted Onions Recipe to Die For

Ingredients

Method

Place a rack in the top section of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Slice the top off of each onion, leaving the skins on the onion bases. Place the onions in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Put a thin pat of butter on each onion. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and place a rosemary sprig on top. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the onions are bubbling and soft. Cook the onions for for another 15-20 minutes until the onions are completely tender and the tops have started to brown. Allow to cool a little before serving warm as a side dish.





Onions have unique health benefits
Onions have unique health benefits. Source: Pixabay
Onions make a wonderful addition to soups
Onions make a wonderful addition to soups. Source: Pixabay
Onion has great nutritional values
Onions are a remarkable health food because they keep so well and can be used all through the year for a variety of dishes. has great nutritional values. Source: Pixabay
Onions are highly nutritious and have multiple uses
Onions are highly nutritious and have multiple uses. Source: Pixabay
Onions can be added to curries and noodle soups to add flavor, texture and nutritional values
Onions can be added to curries and noodle soups to add flavor, texture and nutritional values. Source: Pixabay