It is usually the onion dating in preference for the larger, more flavoursome white variety. But the humble red onion could help prevent heart disease, researchers claim. They have discovered that the vegetable – commonly used in Mediterranean and Indian cuisine – helps remove bad cholesterol from the body, which can cause heart attacks and strokes. Scientists in Hong Kong fed crushed-up red onions to hamsters who had all been put on a high-cholesterol diet.
Zhen Yu Chen, who was in charge of the research carried out at the Chinese University of Hong Kong said: ‘Despite extensive research on onions, little is known of how their consumption interacts with human genes and proteins involved in cholesterol metabolism within the body. Our study was therefore undertaken to characterise the interaction of onions with enzymes in an attempt to explore the underlying cholesterol-lowering mechanism. This study is the first of its kind to investigate the interaction of red onions with biological functions. This results support the claim that the regular consumption of onion reduces the risk of coronary heart disease.