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Best ways to cook onions to preserve nutritients

Posted Jun 22 2010 9:10am


I’m known to have spent many hours in the kitchen sautéing onions. I sauté onions when I’m happy and I sauté them when I’m sad. The exercise is quite the therapeutic for me.

I usually have a batch of sautéed onions on hand to put in omelettes, rice dishes, pasta or to top of salads.

I find that onions add such dimensions to dishes and it was a bonus for me to find out that not only are onions tasty, they are also packaged with nutrients that are good for your body.

If you’ve never really taken the time to figure out why you should eat onions more often, allow me to give you 10 good reasons:

1) Onions are a great concentrated source of vitamin C.

2) They contain vitamin B6.

3) You’ll find them to be a great source of chromium and flavonoid quercertin.

4) Onions contain an important phynutrient called allyl sulphides which nutrients boost a lot of the onion’s health benefits.

5) You can eat them cooked or raw.

5) They can be added to practically any dish.

6) You can buy onions year round.

7) You have a variety of colours to choose from toe colour your dishes – yellow, white or red onions.

8 ) Onions contain many of the same powerful health benefits as garlic.

9) Onions are extremely cost effective.

10) Buying onions from a farm’s market takes the whole taste experience of onions to another level.

Now that you know why you should eat onions more often, let’s take a look at ways to cooking them while preserving all the nutritients!

>>> Cooking onions for maximum health benefit!

It turns out that you shouldn’t chop and cook when it comes to onions. To increase the breadth of phytonutrients that are high in sulphur content, it’s best to chop your onions 5-10 minutes in advance and let them sit before cooking them (10 minutes is best)! Just by doing this simple little trick, you’ll boost the power of the nutrients in your onions.

I found this more scientific reason on why you should let your onions sit for a few minutes before cooking them:

“Heat will inactivate the effect of thiopropanal sulfoxide, which is why it is important to allow the onions to sit for 5-10 minutes before cooking to give the enzyme ample opportunity to enhance the concentration of active phytonutrients in them. Sautéing  onions at low or medium heat for short periods of time (up to 15 minutes) should not destroy the active phytonutrients since once they are formed, they are fairly stable.” – Source: Ketter, C. A. T. and Randle, W. M. 1998. Pungency Assessment in Onions study.

To maximize the health benefits even further, you should sauté your onions for a maximum of 15 minutes instead of a longer cooking method such as slow roasting (which kills all nutritients).

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