Red onions are a main ingredient of many salads but did you know they could also protect you against cancer?

Red onions contain quercetin, a potent flavonoid and anthocyanin – known as the pigment that gives colour to the onion.

Combined together, this can kill colon and breast cancer cells, according to recent laboratory tests.

The pigment appears to ‘supercharge’ quercetin and magnify its scavenging properties, according to researchers from the University of Guelph.

Five different kinds of onion where tested on the cancer cells. While all onions contain quercetin and should therefore all have cancer-fighting properties, it is the red variety that stands out. In their experiment, researchers chose five onion varieties grown within Ontario and this includes the Ruby Ring red onion.

Aa lead researcher Abdulmonem Murayyan explains, “Onions activate pathways that encourage cancer cells to undergo cell death. They promote an unfavourable environment for cancer cells and they disrupt communication between cancer cells, which inhibits growth.”

Researchers now believe the next stage is to test onions’ cancer fighting properties on people.

Some inspirational recipes with red onions can be found below…

Recommended Examples


Avocado, Tomato and Red Onion Salad with Cumin Lime

Red onions add a delicious crisp taste to this fresh avocado, tomato and cumin salad. This salad is a healthy and refreshing way to get more of the benefits of red onion into your diet.





Cucumber, Red Onion and Dill Salad

Cucumber has many cleansing properties along with many vitamins and minerals that can benefit your general health. Red onion gives this salad a delicious kick while dill is a good source of calcium, manganese, iron along with being a potent antioxidant.




Mango Salsa

Red onion adds a zesty kick to this homemade tasty mango salsa. Mango is a good source of Vitamins A, B6, C, Folate, K and potassium.