A recent study in Ontario, Canada, has found that Ontario-grown red onions, compared to other onions are the most effective at killing colon and breast cancer cells. The study looked at five onion types grown in Ontario and found the red type was most effective.
Quercetin – strange name but extraordinary support
There are two compounds in red onions responsible for this finding. The first is Quercetin, which is present in all onions, but particularly high in onions from Ontario. Quercetin is anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. It may be useful in a range of conditions, including heart and circulation problems, inflammation and viral infections.
Many other foods also contain Quercetin, most notably apples (supporting the theory of “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”), red wine, green tea, berries and buckwheat.
Onions and Wine (and some others!)
The second constituent providing red onions with their benefits are anthocyanins. The cyan in the name gives a hint (think of the cyan colour in your printer). In general, in nature purple, red and blue foods and plants contain anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are mentioned in a large amount of health claims, not all of them confirmed, but some of the areas in addition to cancer prevention include cardiovascular health and dementia.
Foods containing anthocyanins include blueberries, blackcurrants and blackberries, as well as in aubergine (in the skin), red cabbage, cranberries, cherries and red grapes.
It is important to note, however, that although this study points to two particular constituents, when we talk about plants and herbs, it is the combination of nutrients in a food and their synergistic effect that confers the benefit. It is important to eat the whole food rather than focus on one ingredient.
The study does point out that for a therapeutic effect much higher doses that those available in food are required. However, including onions and other foods that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are important for overall health.
For more information on anti-inflammatory protocols, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Abdulmonem I. Murayyan, Cynthya M. Manohar, Gordon Hayward, Suresh Neethirajan. Antiproliferative activity of Ontario grown onions against colorectal adenocarcinoma cells. Food Research International, 2017; 96: 12 DOI: 10.1016/j.foodres.2017.03.017