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Onion vs Turnip - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Ani Harutyunyan by Ani Harutyunyan | Last updated on June 25, 2022
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Onion
vs
Turnip

Summary

Turnips are higher in vitamin C and copper. They are nearly three times higher in vitamin C. Onions provide more carbs than Turnips. Onions are also richer in proteins.

Introduction

This article will compare Turnip and Onion regarding their nutritional content and health impact. Here we will discuss the differences between raw turnip (1) and raw onion (2).

Macronutrients

Although Onion and Turnip contain about 90% water, the distribution of macronutrients differs. The nutrients they give are compared below in the quantities that they provide.

Calories

Turnips and onions are low-calorie foods because they are non-sweet vegetables. However, Onion is higher in calories than Turnip.

Carbs

Both Onion and Turnip are low in carbs. However, in terms of carbs, Onion is higher compared to Turnip. It provides 3g more carbs.

Turnip is lower in net carbs: 100g has 4.6g of net carbs, while the same amount of Onion contains 7.6g.

Protein

Turnip and Onion are plant food products. Hence, they do not provide much protein. Still, Onion is higher in proteins than Turnip.

Vitamins

The two vegetables are rich in different vitamins.

Turnips are an excellent source of vitamin C: they are approximately three times higher in vitamin C (21mg per 100g) than Onions (7.4mg per 100g).

Onion is richer in vitamins B1, B6, and K, while Turnip provides more vitamin B3, B5, and E.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Onion
5
:
5
Turnip
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +15%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +33.3%
Contains more Folate +26.7%
Contains more Vitamin K +300%
Contains more Vitamin E +50%
Contains more Vitamin C +183.8%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +11.1%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +244.8%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +62.6%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 1% 1% 0% 25% 12% 7% 3% 8% 28% 15% 0% 1%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 0% 1% 0% 70% 10% 7% 8% 12% 21% 12% 0% 1%
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +15%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +33.3%
Contains more Folate +26.7%
Contains more Vitamin K +300%
Contains more Vitamin E +50%
Contains more Vitamin C +183.8%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +11.1%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +244.8%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +62.6%

Minerals

Turnips are the champions in this section. They are higher in calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and copper.

Turnip is more than two times higher in copper than Onion.

You can check these two vegetables' mineral compositions in the chart below.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Onion
2
:
6
Turnip
Contains less Sodium -94%
Contains more Calcium +30.4%
Contains more Iron +42.9%
Contains more Potassium +30.8%
Contains more Zinc +58.8%
Contains more Copper +117.9%
Equal in Magnesium - 11
Equal in Phosphorus - 27
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 7% 8% 8% 13% 13% 1% 5% 14%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 9% 12% 8% 12% 17% 9% 8% 29%
Contains less Sodium -94%
Contains more Calcium +30.4%
Contains more Iron +42.9%
Contains more Potassium +30.8%
Contains more Zinc +58.8%
Contains more Copper +117.9%
Equal in Magnesium - 11
Equal in Phosphorus - 27

Health impact

Anticancer protection

Turnips and Onions contain different plant compounds with anticancer properties.

Turnips have chemicals called glucosinates. They are a group of bioactive compounds with antioxidant capacities that help reduce oxidative stress-reducing cancer risk (3) (4). A higher intake of glucosinates is linked with a reduced risk of colon, rectal, and lung cancers (5) (6) (7).

The anticancer properties of Onions are mostly linked with sulfur-containing compounds. For instance, Onion provides onionin A, a sulfur-containing chemical that decreases tumor development and inhibits the spread of lung and ovarian cancers (8) (9).

Blood sugar control 

Both these vegetables have anti-diabetic effects connected with the different chemicals they provide.

Turnips help maintain blood glucose levels by lowering glucose production in the liver and reducing the absorption of carbs (10) (11).

Onions possess anti-diabetic effects by producing quercetin, an antioxidant that helps control blood sugar regulation (12).

Protection against bacteria 

Both Onions and Turnips are involved in antibacterial activities.

Turnips glucosinates can turn into isothyocianates that inhibit bacterial and microbial growth (13). These compounds are effective against harmful bacteria such as E.Coli and S. Aureus (14) (15).

Onion extracts show inhibiting effects on Vibrio cholerae and Helicobacter pylori (16) (17).

References

  1. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170465/nutrients
  2. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170000/nutrients
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30561035/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19683241/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19035553/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29936713/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30445746/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27393711/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4941721/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4418064/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4800080/
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27633685/
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25378563/
  14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25353177/
  15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20632977/
  16. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21702293/
  17. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19127724/
Article author photo Ani Harutyunyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: June 25, 2022

Infographic

Onion vs Turnip infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Onion Turnip
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Onion Turnip Opinion
Net carbs 7.64g 4.63g Onion
Protein 1.1g 0.9g Onion
Fats 0.1g 0.1g
Carbs 9.34g 6.43g Onion
Calories 40kcal 28kcal Onion
Starch 0g g Onion
Fructose 1.29g g Onion
Sugar 4.24g 3.8g Turnip
Fiber 1.7g 1.8g Turnip
Calcium 23mg 30mg Turnip
Iron 0.21mg 0.3mg Turnip
Magnesium 10mg 11mg Turnip
Phosphorus 29mg 27mg Onion
Potassium 146mg 191mg Turnip
Sodium 4mg 67mg Onion
Zinc 0.17mg 0.27mg Turnip
Copper 0.039mg 0.085mg Turnip
Vitamin A 2IU 0IU Onion
Vitamin E 0.02mg 0.03mg Turnip
Vitamin D 0IU 0IU
Vitamin D 0µg 0µg
Vitamin C 7.4mg 21mg Turnip
Vitamin B1 0.046mg 0.04mg Onion
Vitamin B2 0.027mg 0.03mg Turnip
Vitamin B3 0.116mg 0.4mg Turnip
Vitamin B5 0.123mg 0.2mg Turnip
Vitamin B6 0.12mg 0.09mg Onion
Folate 19µg 15µg Onion
Vitamin B12 0µg 0µg
Vitamin K 0.4µg 0.1µg Onion
Tryptophan 0.014mg 0.009mg Onion
Threonine 0.021mg 0.025mg Turnip
Isoleucine 0.014mg 0.036mg Turnip
Leucine 0.025mg 0.033mg Turnip
Lysine 0.039mg 0.036mg Onion
Methionine 0.002mg 0.011mg Turnip
Phenylalanine 0.025mg 0.017mg Onion
Valine 0.021mg 0.03mg Turnip
Histidine 0.014mg 0.014mg
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Trans Fat 0g 0g
Saturated Fat 0.042g 0.011g Turnip
Monounsaturated Fat 0.013g 0.006g Onion
Polyunsaturated fat 0.017g 0.053g Turnip

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Onion Turnip
Low Fats diet Equal
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
8
Onion
12
Turnip
Mineral Summary Score
8
Onion
13
Turnip

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
7%
Onion
5%
Turnip
Carbohydrates
9%
Onion
6%
Turnip
Fats
0%
Onion
0%
Turnip

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Turnip
Turnip is lower in Sugar (difference - 0.44g)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Turnip
Turnip is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.031g)
Which food is cheaper?
Turnip
Turnip is cheaper (difference - $0.2)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Turnip
Turnip is relatively richer in minerals
Which food contains less Sodium?
Onion
Onion contains less Sodium (difference - 63mg)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Onion
Onion is lower in glycemic index (difference - 58)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Onion - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170000/nutrients
  2. Turnip - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170465/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.