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Paying Homage to the Onion

Study: Onion Compounds May Cut Colon Cancer Risk in Half

Consuming onions can reduce your risk of colon cancer in half, study confirms.

Consuming onions can reduce your risk of colon cancer in half, study confirms.

“Impossible.”

That’s what I said to myself the other day, shocked and chagrined that I’d never written about the onion.

How is this possible?  After all, the onion’s the third largest vegetable crop produced in the United States, not one, but two states call the onion their official state vegetable (Georgia and Texas), and the average American eats about 19 pounds of onions every year (that’s nothing compared to Libya, where the average Libyan eats 66 pounds of onions a year, according to the National Onion Association).

To rectify this oversight, this Mangano Minute will be a devotion to the onion, the vegetable that no salad, no stir fry, no salsa is complete without.

Whether it’s sweet like the Vidalia onion, hot like the Red, or mild like the White, there’s no escaping the onion’s curative qualities.  Packed with quercetin, chromium and vitamin C, this layered Libyan love is admired both for its unique taste and its nutritional know-how.

All of the nutritional benefits are too numerous to list for a Mangano Minute posting, so I’ll restrict my list to one particularly impressive benefit:  Onions can cut your risk of colon cancer in half!!

This is according to a new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, where researchers from the University of Aberdeen in Ireland looked to see if flavonol consumption, like those found in onions, influenced the rate of colon cancer in a sample of approximately 700 people (264 volunteers were already diagnosed with colorectal cancer, the remaining were healthy and served as controls).

Initially, the researchers saw no correlation between flavonol consumption and the incidence rate of colorectal cancer.  But when they isolated what the participants consumed to food sources other than tea (tea is the main source of flavonol consumption in the United Kingdom), the correlation became clearer.

Writing in the British Journal of Nutrition, the researchers concluded that quercetin, the most abundant flavonol found in onions, “may be linked with reduced risk of developing colon cancer.”

Interestingly, the researchers found no link between reduced rectal cancer risk, only a link between quercetin and colon cancer.  And as mentioned, that risk may be reduced by as much as 50 percent with its increased consumption.

It may not do wonders for your breath, but onions perform wonders for your overall health and longevity.  The onion consumption rate in the U.S. has increased 50 percent over the last 20 years.  With studies like this, it won’t be long before Americans rival Libyans in their lovin’ for the onion!

Sources:
foodreference.com
whfoods.com
nutraingredients.com

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