Researchers suggest that dark red onions, often known as the richest source of dietary flavonoids, may help in combating breast and colon cancer. “We found that onions are excellent at killing cancer cells,” said Abdulmonem Murayyan, doctoral student at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. “Onions activate pathways that encourage cancer cells to undergo cell death. They promote an unfavourable environment for cancer cells and disrupt communication bet ..ween cancer cells, which inhibits growth,” Murayyan added. The findings, published recently in the journal Food Research International, revealed that red onions contain high levels of quercetin — a plant polyphenol from the flavonoid group, found in many fruits, vegetables, leaves, and grains — and include benefits such as lowering inflammation and fighting allergies, among others. Further, red onions were also found to have high amounts of anthocyanin, which enriches the scavenging properties of quercetin molecules. “Anthocyanin is instrumental in providing colour to fruits and vegetables so it makes sense that the red onions, which are darkest in colour, would have the most cancer-fighting power,” said Murayyan. In the first study, to examine how effective onions are at killing cancer cells, researchers have found that not all onions are created equal.

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