Onions contain a wealth of vitamins, minerals and healthy compounds that make regular consumption of onions a healthy, everyday choice. Check out the nutritional table.

The Phytochemical Composition of NZ Grown Onions

In 2022, Onions NZ Inc. initiated a study to identify and quantify the unique value attributes of New Zealand grown onions.The main aim of the study was to undertake scientific analysis of the New Zealand onion varieties to identify the presence and levels of phytochemicals, specifically fructans, flavonoids (both anthocyanins and flavonols) and organosulphurcompounds including S-methylcysteine sulfoxide (SMCS) and S-allylcysteine sulfoxide (SACS). The study considered brown and red onions, taking into consideration varietal differences such as early and late season onions. The effect of cooking on flavonoids compounds (quercetin), was also assessed using published procedures.

Why are phytochemicals important?

Phytochemicals are a wide variety of non-nutritive chemical compounds found in plant foods, which may have health effects. 

  1. Fructans are known to support gut health.
  2. Flavenoids (such as quercetin and isorhanmetin) have antioxidant properties and can help reduce the risk of some cancers and stomach ulcers.
  3. Organo-sulphur compounds can help reduce the symptoms of diabetes and asthma, and reduce blood platelets clotting in thrombosis. 

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Key research outcomes

Mince flesh and fry to retain maximum levels of quercetin.

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Brown Onions are higher in fructans than Red Onions.

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The highest levels of fructans in onion flesh were found in Stoplight, Pukekohe Long Keeper and Rhinestone varieties.

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The highest flavonoids (quercetin etc) in onion flesh were found in Brown Onions, grown in Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand.

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Onions NZ Inc Report Phytochemical Analysis Industry Release

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