If you had to choose between a red and yellow onion, which one would you choose? While each variety offers its own magic to different dishes, red onions pack a special bite. Whether you pickle them or chop them up and toss them into fresh salsa, a red onion can be enjoyed in myriad ways. But what exactly happens when you eat red onion with your meal?
Below, we’ve pinpointed just four things (good and bad) that you could experience after you eat red onion. Here’s what you need to know, and for even more healthy tips, be sure to check out our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
Have you ever had too many red onions on a taco and immediately got heartburn? Onions can trigger symptoms of acid reflux, which is when stomach acid creeps back up into the esophagus and causes a burning sensation in the chest. In general, it’s best for people who are susceptible to acid reflux to steer clear of onions, spicy foods, citrus fruit, alcohol, and tomatoes.
Get even more healthy tips straight to your inbox by signing up for our newsletter!
There is quite a bit of evidence that would suggest onions have an antibacterial effect on the body, with research suggesting they have the ability to combat harmful bacteria including E. coli and S. aureus. One test-tube study even found that a compound in onion called quercetin may inhibit the growth of a certain bacteria called H. pylori that are associated with stomach ulcers. We’re not suggesting red onions could protect you from E. coli or prevent stomach ulcers, however, the root veggie is believed to have bacteria-fighting properties.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder that affects the large intestine, causing cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and even diarrhea or constipation. According to research published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, onions are just one food that can aggravate symptoms. Garlic and coffee were also found to spur adverse symptoms.
Regularly eating red onion may help you regulate blood sugar levels, which is something that’s extra important for those who have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. One small study published in Environmental Health Insights found that eating 3.5 ounces of fresh red onion reduced fasting blood sugar levels by about 40 mg/dl after four hours in those who had type 2 diabetes.
There’s even evidence that suggests that the quercetin compound in onions may interact with cells in the small intestine, pancreas, and liver that may assist in controlling blood sugar regulation throughout the body.
For more, be sure to check out What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Ginger.