Here's why onions make you cry and how you can stop it

Web Desk
A person cutting an onion. — Unsplash/File
A person cutting an onion. — Unsplash/File

No one, not even the kitchen veterans are safe from a good cry while peeling onions. So why is that?

Dr Abbey Thiel, a food scientist and host of the YouTube channel Abbey the Food Scientist, tells CNN that onions make people cry as a defence mechanism — as several plants have.

Bryan Quoc Le, faculty research fellow at Pacific Lutheran University in Parkland, Washington, said that when a person chops an onion, it releases an enzyme combined with an amino acid, producing sulfur compounds and another enzyme, which sends vapours into a person’s eyes, making them cry.

“After reacting with the moisture in our eyes, small amounts of sulfuric acid are produced which irritates the cornea and leads to the tears,” he told CNN.

How to avoid it?

  • Keep a fan near your so win carries away molecules
  • Wear goggles as they’re a foolproof method of protecting your eyes
  • You can chill the onion — keep it in a freezer or a bowl filled with ice
  • Heat the onion — microwave it so the vapours can be cut down
  • Add lemon or vinegar to the onion to slow down enzyme making
  • You could also light up candles, it can help
  • Hold a piece of bread or toast in your mouth