Why Do I Crave Onions? Top 3 Reasons

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Why do I crave onions
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A lot of people crave onions, but why?

Why do we want to eat them in the first place and then spend the next hour or more getting rid of their scent from our breath?

There are a few reasons associated with craving onions.

  1. Liver problems
  2. Feeling sick
  3. Great flavors

Whatever your reason may be, there is no denying that these tasty vegetables can make food taste better!

In this blog post I’ll discuss these three reasons in more in depth as well as answer some common questions such as:

  • Why does your body crave raw onions?
  • What happens if you eat onions everyday?
  • Why do I crave garlic and onions?
  • Is it weird to eat raw onions?

1 – Liver Problems

liver damage causing onion cravings

You need your liver function to live! Your liver helps your body remove toxins from the foods you digest.

But what if your liver isn’t working well? Turns out your liver needs lots of sulfur and if you don’t have enough sulfur this could cause liver problems.

Luckily onions are a rich source of sulfur and you can get them at any grocery store!

This means you may be craving onions because your liver is struggling to break down toxins because your body is in short supply of sulfur.

Of course your liver may need more than onions because your liver requires more than sulfur to function!

You also can try to incorporate more onions into your diet through a variety of ways such as:

  • Onions diced and added to scrambled eggs
  • Onions with any type of meat
  • Minced onions to enhance flavor and taste of other dishes

If you’re not a fan of onions but still want to improve your liver health, read my ‘8 best supplements for liver function’ review article here.

Signs of Liver Damage Problems Causing Onion Cravings

Liver problems are very serious. If you are craving onions and also show these other signs, your liver may be struggling to break down toxins in your body. 

  • Yellowish tinge to your skin or around your eyes
  • Very dark pee
  • Very light or yellowish poop
  • Inflammation and swelling in your legs and ankles

Now you can also have dark pee if your body gets dehydrated. But if you’re craving onions, your pee is dark, your poop is yellow and your ankles are inflamed …

You need to call the doctor soon. Your liver function may be compromised. Don’t believe those vegan myths and wait to eat onions to see if things get better, just get your health checked out as soon as possible.

If you getting to the doctor’s is difficult, you want to get a blood test for inflammation. Information about inflammation in your body can help identify the overall state of your blood and liver health.

2 – Feeling Sick (& Craving Onions To Feel Better)

dehydration sweat

Some people crave onions when they are feeling sick. Why? It could be for a few reasons:

  1. It can remind them of home cooking since their mother or grandmother would make onion soup,
  2. It might ease nausea and vomiting which can cause feelings of sickness
  3. Finally it may also just taste really good to someone who is not feeling well (more on taste down below!)

You should check with your doctor if these symptoms persist. But the next time that craving hits and you’re not feeling well, try eating an onion!

It’s similar to the reason you might crave fruit or orange juice when you’re feeling unwell.

Your body knows Vitamin C is good when you’re ill and craves it!

Is It Weird To Eat Raw Onions?

Whether it’s weird to eat uncooked onions is a matter of preference.

Some people say eating an onion with the skin on makes them feel like they’re getting more of the benefit because they get all three layers.

But some people don’t enjoy this sensation and find it unpleasant. So you should just try both ways and see which one agrees best!

And in case you were wondering, no, there isn’t anything wrong with having a craving for something healthy! It could be as simple as your body telling you what it needs right now!

The health benefits are clear (including boosting immunity!) along with the feeling sick reasons mentioned above.

Pro Tip: if you want to avoid the eye crying from cutting raw onions, you may want to use a match!

Seriously, hold a match in your mouth so the unlit tip is by your nose. The next time you cut raw onions it will really help reduce the crying!

Onion Health Benefits (No Wonder You Crave Onions!)

  • High dietary fiber helps in blood sugar regulation
  • Contains antioxidants that fight cancer cells and are anti-inflammatory!
  • Prevents heart disease
  • Lowers cholesterol and blood pressure levels
  • Prevents stomach ulcers
  • Protects from strokes and regulates body weight by burning fat
  • High in vitamin c

Phew! That’s a lot of benefits for one little onion! It might be time to give up the guilt about those tears you shed when cutting them over your dinner plate…or not 🙂

Either way, it doesn’t matter because onions are so good for you!

Read this Healthline article to learn more about the impressive health benefits of onions!

Then Why Does My Body Crave Raw Onions?

Craving uncooked onions can sound strange.  Why would anyone get cravings for an uncooked onion when it tastes so terrible?

But let’s pause and think for just a second! What about hamburgers with uncooked onions? Or have you ever put chopped up diced onions on foods like:

  • Baked potato with sour cream
  • Chili hotdog
  • Fish

Yes, onions in their natural form, straight from mother earth, do have a place in your diet!

Some cultures and different meals (like having a baked potato in the Midwest) enjoy the taste and crunch from raw onions.

Read here for more info if you want to know why you’re craving other foods.

3 – Onions Make Food Taste Better

Humans have a long history of associating the taste and smell of onions with home cooking. This means these tasty vegetables can really make our favorite foods taste better!

This is the most important reason why you’re craving onions, raw or cooked!

Onions make things taste better!

In fact over the entire human history, we have valued and crave things that made our food taste better. 

Like back in ancient days salt was actually worth as much as gold because salt made your food taste better and helped preserve foods!

An onion in this respect is no different. Both salt and an onion make your food taste better.

We develop cravings because when we eat something that smells good (like an onion), our brain releases endorphins. These chemicals make us feel more relaxed or happy! 

This can be especially true with soups with onions, as onions contain many different ingredients releasing aromas at once while cooking.

Adding an onion to your favorite dishes will really make those taste better! Kind of like cheese!

And remember, there’s nothing wrong with adding some raw ones on top of salads too. Uncooked onions can add a nice crunch and contribute to the endorphin release!

But what happens if you eat onions everyday?

If onions are nutritious and make your food taste better (and if you’re googling ‘why do I crave onions’), then what if you eat and crave onions daily?

Onions contain many vitamins and minerals (like vitamin C) and they are great for your immune system function, so getting cravings for them daily is not a problem.

The only real negative effect is that the odor from an onion can cling onto your breath and clothes/hair! This might lead to people avoiding socializing with you!

Ewww, onion breath! And garlic onion breath is even worse!

Eating or chopping an onion also creates burning sensations of the mouth and throat. Ever wonder why freshly chopped onions make you cry? It’s because raw onions release hydrogen sulfide gas, which irritates your eyes.

And lastly, why do I crave onions and garlic?

onions and garlic cravings

Chocolate and milk. Peanut butter and jelly.

I’m listing some examples of two foods that go great together! Let’s add garlic and onions to the list, shall we?!

Garlic and onions together simply taste amazing.

This is because the compounds in garlic and onions react with each other to produce even more flavors!

Some people report that they crave both of these foods together for their comforting flavor.

And if you think about it, chocolate without milk or peanut butter without jelly would be a bit weird too. You often can’t have one without the other!

The same goes for garlic and onions – we love them together!! Try adding these two veggies to your favorite recipes today!!!  🙂

Listening to what foods give you satisfaction and pleasure is key to both intuitive eating and weight management.

Here are some great ideas on how to cook up garlic and onions together:

  • Cook the garlic and onions together in a pot with olive oil. Once they are soft, add your favorite protein (such as chicken breast or ground beef).
  • Add some spices to this mixture for extra flavor – like salt and pepper, cumin powder, turmeric and paprika! You can also add tomato sauce if you want it more saucy. Let this cook on low heat until everything is well combined before adding any water. This will help mix all of those flavors together even better without getting too mushy!!
  • Sautéing them both at the same time is another tasty option as well – just make sure not to burn either one, so that they keep their great taste! And then add hot pasta for a great dish!

But the best way to add garlic and onions is in a sauce or soup.

I love cutting up some onion and adding it into my tomato-based pasta sauce with ground beef. Not only does the flavor of that recipe come alive, but so will your room! 

Let’s say you’re making tacos – throw some sliced fresh onions on top of your meat before putting them onto a taco shell.

Or if you are cooking rice, sautéing half an onion with butter then adding the uncooked rice until coated might be just what you need. A little bit goes such a long way!

You can also do this by throwing chopped veggies like broccoli stems/carrot tops into a pot of soup or by boiling with a bit of oil. Then just wait for the veggies to soften and become tender.

Please remember cooking foods is a great safety tip as well.

Why Do I Crave Onions Summary!

With all these great ideas in mind, there’s really no reason why you should be eating boring food!

  • Onions have a bunch of health benefits and can be great for your liver.
  • You may crave a nice relaxing soup with onions if you’re feeling sick.
  • Onions – raw or cooked – just make food taste better!

There are so many ways that onions can come into your recipes without being overpowering – even if it is only because they give the dishes depth and dimension.  They’re not going anywhere anytime soon either!

If you feel like your cravings for onions are out of control, please see my post on cravings here.

If you want more information about this topic feel free to comment below or shoot me an email.  I’d love to hear from you!

About the Author

Jared Levenson is a former binge eating wrestler turned Zen Buddhist Monk, Internal Family Systems counselor and nutrition wellness coach. He's helped hundreds of people through universal meal principles and internal family systems to make peace with food, stop binge eating, and find true health and wholeness.


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  1. Just want to say you missed one big health benefit (not really a surprise given how many these things have). Garlic, Onions and all members of the Amaryllidaceae family also thin out the red blood cells (another reason why your body might crave it if you have liver problems)
    I came here because i’ve been having a cheese an onion craving the past few days that’s driving me a bit mad, so i figured i’d look into reasons for it. i keep coming back to the same reason so i’ll be booking time with my GP for blood tests. But otherwise thank you your vid explained a few things more easily then massive walls of text i keep finding.

    1. Hey Anna, thanks for your comment and feedback, cheese and onion is an interesting combo. You’re thinking that same reason is the red blood cell thinning? Interesting, thanks for sharing

  2. Thank you for your commentary, information and explanations. I am a 70 year old female ( Jan 2021 ) and I have found this year that onions have been a food that has been calling me. Well, I have some recent health issues that probably contribute to this body alarm. April 2019 had an Ischemic stroke. I was very fortunate and had no remnant conditions and regained myself well. Cut out red meat, sugars, mixed liquor drinks, white foods. I was put on meds….Atorvastatin, Metoprolol and 325 Aspirin. Lost weight ( 25 lbs ) but gained it back. I was miserable. It has taken me time to figure out how to eat properly. You see, I have food allergies from birth. All nuts and all fish with the exception of shrimp, crab and lobster ( the opposite of most people with fish allergies. ) I am still over weight, however, I am now and back on the better eating path. Chicken and turkey are my go-to foods, avocado, onions, tomatoes. But prior to my seeking redemption through food, I fell off the wagon and was eating sweets….Yoplait Yogurt, ice cream….shot my blood sugars and now I am on diabetes meds. Yes I do get some cardio in but not enough. However salads, turkey and chicken are my menu. The only juice I have found so far safe to drink is Pomegranate juice, diluted, and water and coffee without sugar. I take my blood pressure often. Please offer your opinion and advice. This is a difficult journey.

    1. Hey Dee, I hear you. Thanks for sharing journey. At Eating Enlightenment we have a unique approach based on mindfulness, compassion and self-reflection.

      Admittedly this mindful compassion stuff is a bit different at first and takes a little bit to see the connection to sustainable health outcomes.

      So in terms of advice, I’d say join our free community! Just try to learn about this method and see if it resonates with you.


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