Can Onions Improve Your Cholesterol?
You are probably aware of the common foods that help to improve your cholesterol. You know, fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, salmon, herring, trout, oatmeal, and so on and so on. However, there are many other foods out there that are much less notable for their cholesterol lowering effects, yet they can still contribute a significant amount of improvements to your overall lipid profile.
Some of these less notable foods are dark chocolate, red wine, turmeric, whey protein, and onions, among many others. A reason as to why perhaps these foods don’t get as much recognition as say, peanut butter or oatmeal does, might be due to the fact that there has not been nearly as much research done on these uncommon foods.
Also, the research may not be the most ground-shaking either. However, tests have been done that show how lucrative onions can be at improving your cholesterol, especially if your levels are abysmal. Speaking of this research, let’s take a closer look at what tests have been done that support the claim that onions can actually help to improve your cholesterol.
Looking at the research
According to HealthLine.com, in one study, the flavonoids that are found in onions actually reduced LDL (which is considered the “bad” cholesterol) in obese people at risk of heart disease. Researchers attributed this finding to the specific flavonoid quercetin, which is an antioxidant that is found in onions and other fruits and vegetables. HDL, which is considered the “good” cholesterol, was not affected in this experiment .
In a different experiment claimed by LiveStrong.com, “The article in the “European Journal of Experimental Biology” notes that the compounds in onions can raise HDL cholesterol .” So, there are some studies that show HDL cholesterol not changing at all, while others show that HDL cholesterol actually increases. Nevertheless, I have yet to find any information claiming that onions increase LDL or lower HDL. Most of the studies available show an advantageous health benefit of consuming onions.
In a study from Hong Kong, Scientists fed crushed-up red onions to several hamsters who had all been previously put on a high-cholesterol diet. What the scientists found was that after eight weeks the hamsters’ levels of “bad” cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL), had dropped by an average of 20% .
So, as you can see, consuming onions can actually help you to improve your cholesterol ratios. Most of the research that I have found showed that eating onions can actually help you to lower your LDL cholesterol. As far as their ability to increase the heart healthy HDL cholesterol, those findings are not as consistent. However, some research does show an increase.
To help you improve your overall lipid profile, perhaps you can implement some onions into your meals to help give them an extra heart healthy boost of cholesterol lowering power. You may be surprised as to how well they compliment your meal by adding a salt free seasoning to it. This is another great benefit, especially if you have high blood pressure.
- “Can Onions Lower My Cholesterol?” Health Line. https://www.healthline.com/health/high-cholesterol/cholesterol-and-onions#1
- Ipatenco, Sara. “Onion Effects on Cholesterol.” Live Strong. https://www.livestrong.com/article/450800-onion-effects-on-cholesterol/
- Borland, Sophie. “The humble red onion could be the answer to reducing bad cholesterol.” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1318240/The-humble-red-onion-answer-reducing-bad-cholesterol.html