What are onion benefits and side effects? Are onions vegan? Gluten free? Acidic or alkaline? Low fodmap? Good for you? Healthy? Sustainable? Here are onion pros and cons: all the info on onions that every ethical consumer wants to know…
Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on onion benefits and side effects.
You are going to learn all about onion benefits and side effects. This will include onion benefits for your health and potential risks, onion water footprint and onion carbon footprint, onion sustainability, if onions are vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more.
After learning if onions are good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.
This post is all about onion benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.
Onion Benefits And Side Effects
Onion health benefits may include:
- improved digestion
- blood sugar control
- better bone density
- boosted immunity
- cancer prevention
- heart health
- inhibited growth of bacteria
- reduced inflammation
- soft, smooth, firm and moisturized skin
- weight loss
Additionally onions are…
- Alkaline 8.5 pH level once digested
- Gluten Free
- Not a common Food Allergen
- Not a Nightshade Food
- High-FODMAP (may cause gas, bloating & pain for some)
- Easy cooking.
- Delicious results.
- Reduce your oil intake.
- Best of pressure cooking and air frying all in one pot!
- Nesting Broil Rack, 5 Quart, Stainless Steel
- We love it!
Water footprint: low, it takes 272 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of onions / 33 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of onions
Carbon footprint: low, 0.5 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of onions, a car driving equivalent of 1.25 miles or 2 kilometers
Destruction: low, onion production is relatively sustainable, there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc.
Kills: none, onion production does not require any animals to be killed
Harms: none, onion production does not require any animals to be used
Indirectly killed or harmed: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from onion production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat
- Harmful to wildlife and ecosystem unless organic
- Perfect for children ages 2-8.
- Available in paperback, ebook, audio formats.
- Suitable for vegan kids and vegan families (does not include farm animals, animal food products or byproducts).
- Written + Illustrated by HEALabel's Adriane Marie.
Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible
Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation
Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits
- May involve worker exploitation, laborer issues, human rights concerns
Where do most onions grow?
The world’s top onion producing country is China, followed by India and USA.
The world’s top onion exporting country is Mexico, followed by USA, Netherlands, Spain, Pakistan, New Zealand, Peru, China, Egypt and Germany.
Are onions nutritious?
Yes! Onions are high in Vitamin C, a good source of dietary fiber, folic acid and contain calcium and iron.
Are onions alkaline or acidic?
Onions are alkaline when fresh.
What is the pH level of onions?
Onions have an 8.8 pH level when fresh, once digested.
When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.
Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List
Are onions gluten free?
Yes, onions are gluten free. Onions do not contain gluten. Onions are a type of vegetable, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food.
While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…
Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:
- recurring abdominal pain
- chronic diarrhea
- numbness in hands and feet
- chronic fatigue
- joint pain
- unexplained infertility
- low bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.
Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List
Are onions a common food allergen?
No, onions are not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to onions but it is relatively rare by comparison.
A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:
Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.
Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List
Are onions low FODMAP?
No, onions are high-FODMAP, a food you should limit or eliminate if on a low-FODMAP diet.
A low FODMAP diet may help those with bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
It’s all about knowing your body. Observe what works and what doesn’t. You body might even react negatively to a low-FODMAP food simply due to intolerance. Everyone is different! Be mindful and patient. Take time to get to know what’s best for your physical health and overall wellbeing.
See this High-FODMAP and Low-FODMAP List of Foods
Water footprint of onions?
Onions has a relatively low water footprint compared to other foods.
It takes 272 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of onions / 33 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of onions.
Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource? Once it’s gone, it’s gone!
How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?
We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.
Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
Carbon footprint of onions?
Onions have a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.
It takes around 0.5 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of onions, a car driving equivalent of 1.25 miles or 2 kilometers.
When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…
- farm equipment
- animal feed production
- hothouses (greenhouses)
- food processing
- package waste and more
But that’s not all!
It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:
- shopping locally reduces transportation emissions
- food without packaging reduces waste as well as the carbon footprint
- refrigerated and frozen foods increase carbon emissions
- seasonal foods reduce carbon emissions from hothouses (greenhouses)
- growing plant-based foods at home is the most environmentally sustainable method with zero carbon footprint
Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
Are onions sustainable?
Onion production is relatively sustainable since there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used. Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.
A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.
Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.
Read more about ‘What Makes Food Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’
Are onions vegan?
Yes, onions are vegan. Onions are a vegetable and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food.
Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.
Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.
Go vegan for animals!
It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.
Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List
Do onions have human rights issues?
At this time there have been no major concerns associated with onion production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!
It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may be associated with specific brands.
Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized.
Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even be subjected to harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death!
Such mistreatment has been likened to modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation.
Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards.
We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade.
Be sure to read up on this list of ‘Foods You Should Always Buy Fair Trade‘
This post was all about onion benefits and side effects.
Onions, raw – FoodData Central – USDA
Onions – Nutrition Education – SNAP-Ed Connection – USDA