Prof. Suresh Neethirajan

Engineering professor Suresh Neethirajan and PhD student Abdulmonem Murayyan‘s research revealing that red onions are most effective at killing cancer cells garnered international media attention this week with stories in MSN, CBC News, The Daily Mail, The Times of India and HuffPost United Kingdom.

In the first-ever study, the two researchers examined how effective Ontario-grown onions are at killing breast and colon cancer cells. They discovered the Ruby Ring onion variety came out on top. Onions as a superfood are still not well known. But they contain one of the highest concentrations of quercetin, a type of flavonoid, and Ontario onions boast particularly high levels of the compound compared to onions grown in other parts of the world.

Published recently in Food Research International, the Guelph study revealed that the red onion also has high amounts of anthocyanin, which enriches the scavenging properties of quercetin molecules, making this variety more effective at killing cancer cells.