Is Onion Anti-Inflammatory?

When it comes to incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet, onions are a great place to start. Not only do they add flavor and depth to many dishes, but they also contain compounds that have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. In this post, we’ll explore the potential anti-inflammatory benefits of onions, including how different preparation methods can impact their effectiveness. Whether you’re a raw food enthusiast or simply looking for ways to improve your overall health and well-being through nutrition, read on to discover more about the humble onion’s powerful properties.

Nutritional Content of Onions

Onions are a low-calorie vegetable that is rich in nutrients, making them a great addition to any diet. Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional content of onions:

Read more: Is Onion Low Fodmap?


  • One medium-sized onion contains about 44 calories, mostly from carbohydrates.
  • Each onion has roughly 10 grams of carbs, including around 2 grams of fiber and 6 grams of sugar.
  • Onions also contain small amounts of protein and fat.


  • Onions are an excellent source of vitamin C, providing about 12% of the daily recommended value per serving.
  • They’re also a good source of B vitamins like folate (important for cell growth) and pyridoxine (involved in brain function).
  • Additionally, onions contain minerals such as potassium (important for regulating blood pressure), magnesium (important for bone health), and calcium.


Quercetin is one phytochemical found in onions that may contribute to their anti-inflammatory properties. It’s classified as a flavonoid, which are compounds with antioxidant effects that can help protect cells against damage from free radicals.

While the nutrient profile may vary slightly depending on factors like how the onions were grown or prepared, these general guidelines give us an idea why this humble vegetable packs such powerful nutritional punch.

Onion Preparations and Anti-Inflammatory Effects

The way that onions are prepared can impact their potential anti-inflammatory effects. Here’s what you need to know:

Read more: Which Onion Is Healthiest?

Raw vs Cooked Onions

  • Raw onions contain more quercetin than cooked onions, so they may have stronger anti-inflammatory properties.
  • However, some people find raw onions difficult to digest or too pungent in taste.
  • Cooking onions does not completely destroy the quercetin content, but it can reduce it somewhat.

Different cooking methods and their effects on onion’s anti-inflammatory properties

  • Boiling or frying onions can lead to a significant decrease in quercetin levels.
  • Steaming or microwaving appears to be a gentler cooking method that preserves more of the original nutrient content.

Comparison with other anti-inflammatory foods

While raw onion is a great source of quercetin, there are other foods that also contain this antioxidant compound. Some examples include:- Apples- Berries (especially blueberries)- Leafy greens like spinach and kaleAdding these foods into your diet alongside raw or lightly-cooked onion can help increase your overall intake of inflammation-fighting nutrients.

Onion Extracts and Supplements

Onion extract supplements containing high concentrations of quercetin are available for purchase at health food stores. However, these supplements haven’t been extensively studied yet for safety and effectiveness when taken over long periods of time. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

Overall, while raw onion might pack the biggest punch when it comes to its anti-inflammatory benefits due to its high concentration of nutrients like quercetin, incorporating different preparations into meals will keep things varied as well as tasty.

Onions and Chronic Inflammatory Disorders

Onions’ potential anti-inflammatory effects may make them a helpful addition to the diets of those with chronic inflammatory conditions. Here’s a closer look:

Overview of chronic inflammatory disorders

  • Examples of chronic inflammatory disorders include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.
  • These conditions are characterized by persistent inflammation that can cause pain and damage to various parts of the body.

Research on onions and their potential to improve symptoms of these disorders

  • Studies have suggested that quercetin in onions may help reduce inflammation in people with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.
  • Other research has indicated that onion extract supplements might be beneficial for reducing pain associated with knee osteoarthritis.
  • While more extensive studies are needed on this topic, incorporating raw or lightly-cooked onions into meals could potentially offer some relief for individuals with certain types of chronic inflammatory disorders.


  • The link between inflammation and arthritis is well-established; both rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) involve joint inflammation.
  • A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that women who consumed higher amounts of onion had lower rates of OA progression over time than those who ate less onion.
  • Another study found that consuming raw onions daily reduced levels of C-reactive protein (a marker for systemic inflammation) among patients with RA.

How onions may be incorporated into an anti-inflammatory diet for arthritis

Including fresh onions as much as possible in your diet is one way to get more quercetin, but there are other steps you can take too: – Add chopped raw onion into salads or onto sandwiches – Cook sliced onion alongside vegetables or meats – Mix diced cooked onion into soups or stews

Overall, while it isn’t clear yet whether eating more onions alone can cure any specific condition, incorporating them into an anti-inflammatory diet may help reduce inflammation and improve overall health.


Onions have been shown to contain nutrients and compounds that may help reduce inflammation throughout the body. While more research is needed to determine their exact anti-inflammatory effects, incorporating onions into an overall anti-inflammatory diet can be a healthy choice for many people.

Summary of onion’s potential anti-inflammatory properties

  • Onions are a low-calorie vegetable rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as quercetin, which has antioxidant and potential anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Raw onions might offer more significant benefits than cooked onions due to higher quercetin content.
  • Onion extract supplements are available but should be used with caution.

Recommendations for incorporating onions into an anti-inflammatory diet

  • Add chopped raw or lightly-cooked onion into salads or onto sandwiches.
  • Cook sliced onion alongside vegetables or meats.
  • Mix diced cooked onion into soups or stews.

Future research directions

While studies on the connection between onions and inflammation continue to emerge, there’s still much we don’t know about how this food impacts our health over time. More research is needed not just on isolated compounds like quercetin but also on how different dietary patterns impact inflammatory markers in humans.

Overall, including fresh whole foods like onions in your diet alongside other nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables is one way you can take charge of your health while potentially reducing inflammation naturally.

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