Red Onions Could Kill Cancer Cells, A New Study Says

First Posted: Jun 15, 2017 04:50 AM EDT

Red onions contain quercetin that could inhibit from acquiring heart problems and diabetes. Currently, it is also discovered that red onions are also rich in anthocyanin that could kill cancer cells.

The findings of the discovery were printed in the Food Research International. The study was led by Abdulmonem Murayyan, a Ph.D. student from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, and other colleagues.

Murayyan said in a press release that they discovered onions are excellent at killing cancer cells. He further said that onions activate pathways that encourage cancer cells to undergo cell death. He added that they stimulate an unfavorable environment for cancer cells. They also unsettle the communication between cancer cells that prevents growth, as noted by CBS Boston.

Red onions are the great source of quercetin, which is a flavonoid that is also an anticancer compound. They also have anthocyanin, which is a pigment that gives color to red onions that heighten the capability of quercetin to kill cancer cells. This pigment is also present in eggplant, grapes berries and purple corn, according to Food52.

Murayyan said that anthocyanin provides color to fruits and vegetables. This makes the red onions that are darkest in color could have the most cancer-fighting power.

In the study, the researchers put the colorectal adenocarcinoma or colon cancer cells in direct contact with the compound quercetin from five various kinds of onions. In the follow-up trials, they also placed the breast cancer cells in the compound. The results showed that the Ontario-grown red onions destroyed the breast and colon cancers compared to other four types of onions.

Red onions have purplish red skin and white flesh tinged with red. They have a mild to sweet flavor and come in different sizes from small to large. Red onions are often eaten raw or grilled. They are also lightly cooked with other foods or they serve as decoration to salads. They also provide added flavors to different types of dishes. 

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