Protect yourself against cancer by eating common veg backed by science

Woman holding a red onion
-Credit: (Image: Lucian Smoot/Getty)


Health experts have highlighted the benefits of a common vegetable that could potentially reduce your risk of cancer. Red onion lovers will be thrilled to learn that their favourite veggie is not only tasty but also incredibly beneficial for health.

While all onions, including white and yellow varieties, are loaded with an anti-cancer flavonoid known as quercetin, red onions also boast a rich content of anthocyanin. This antioxidant is typically found in red, purple, and blue fruits and vegetables.

This compound has been proven to hinder cancer development by combating 'free radicals'. An accumulation of free radicals in your body can lead to oxidative stress, which may cause inflammation and increase your risk of chronic conditions like cancer and heart disease.

Fruits and vegetables that are red, purple or blue are usually abundant in anthocyanins. These specific fruits and vegetables are recognised for their high levels of this beneficial compound:

  • Mulberries

  • Black chokeberries

  • Black elderberries

  • Blackcurrants

  • Cherries

  • Blackberries

  • Lingonberries

  • Strawberries

  • Sour cherries

  • Red raspberries

  • Black grapes

  • Plums

  • Blueberries

  • Black beans

  • Red currants

  • Purple corn

  • Pomegranate

  • Aubergine

  • Black carrots,

  • Red cabbage

  • Purple cauliflower

A study conducted in 2017 investigated the effects of anthocyanins on cancer prevention and treatment. It suggested that anthocyanin can aid in preventing cardiovascular disease, controlling obesity, and exhibiting anti-tumour activity, reports the Mirror.

Anthocyanins might also contribute to halting the growth and spread of cancer cells. A 2016 study carried out in a test tube suggested that the compound could activate certain genes capable of eliminating prostate cancer cells.

Anthocyanins have also shown promise in inhibiting the spread of leukaemia and ovarian cancer cells. Additionally, multiple studies indicate that these compounds could potentially lower your chances of developing skin cancer.

A 2019 study took a group of 833 people with colorectal cancer and compared their data with 833 people who did not have the disease. The research concluded that the risk of colorectal cancer was 79% lower in those who regularly consumed vegetables like onions.

In a separate review from 2015, experts found a link between eating a lot of allium vegetables and a reduced risk of cancer, especially cancers of the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. It is important to bare in mind that while these study provide promising results, further research is needed involving humans.

Other potential benefits anthocyanins may offer

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