Health Benefits of Eggplant
What are the health benefits of eggplant? Commonly known as aubergines, eggplant belongs to the family of nightshade. It is used worldwide in various dishes and forms. Generally, people have no idea and consider it a vegetable, but it is a fruit in reality. It contains seeds and grows from flowering plants, which is why it belongs to the fruit family. It comes in various varieties due to the difference in its size and color. However, the most common form of eggplant is the one with deep purple skin, but it is also available in green, red, and black. Eggplants not only add texture and flavor to recipes, but it also has numerous health benefits. Therefore, this article will focus on the health benefits of eggplant.
Eggplants are not popular among consumers, but this cannot deny that it is one of the nutrient-dense foods. It can take a few calories but still has a high amount of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Let’s have a look at the nutritional facts of eggplant:
3.5 ounce or 100 grams of Eggplant, contains 34.65 calories
Has 92% water percentage
Source of 0.82 g of protein
8.64 grams of carbs
Contains 0.23 g fat
3.5 grams of sugar
2.47 grams of fiber
Vitamins and Minerals:
By looking at the nutritional fact table, you will have a clear understanding that eggplant contains few calories. However, still, at the same time, it contains various vitamins and minerals. As a result of which it is excellent for your health and overall fitness.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
Health Benefits of Eggplant
Below are the health benefits of eggplant:
Promote Heart Health:
Eggplants contain antioxidants properties that are great for heart health. According to research, both raw and cooked eggplants come with cardioprotective properties. Moreover, eggplant contains nasunin, a polyphenolic component, which is excellent for heart health. Most of its nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin B6, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. It can reduce stiffness in arteries and help lower blood pressure, which is the leading cause of numerous heart diseases.
Control Blood Sugar Level:
Eggplants are high in fiber and contain a low percentage of insoluble carbohydrates. Therefore, it can significantly help regulate blood sugar levels and help control the absorption of glucose. Researches show that it contains phenolics that act as an inhibitor of enzymes, therefore helping to control type II diabetes. The presence of fiber in eggplant can lower the digestion rate and reduce blood sugar levels. One of the researches shows that eggplant increases the secretion of insulin.
Reduce Cancer Risk:
Eggplants contain solasodine rhamnosyl glycosides (SRGs). It contains cancer-fighting properties and helps to treat skin cancer. Studies show that SRGs can promote the death of cancerous cells. Another study shows that it is effective for the treatment of malignant and benign human skin tumors. Moreover, eggplant is great in fighting against numerous types of cancers.
Improve Cognitive Function:
The presence of phytonutrients in eggplants can protect brain cell membranes from damage. Moreover, they can also help to transfer a message from one cell to another. As a result of which they play a significant role in preserving the memory function. Generally, the reason for mental issues like Alzheimer's and dementia is the presence of free radicals that can cause neural damage. However, eggplant contains nasunin, an excellent antioxidant, thus preventing brain issues caused by free radicals.
Help in Weight Loss:
There is no doubt that eggplant is rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. However, at the same time, it contains fewer calories and is also high in water content. Therefore, it is best to add eggplant in your diet if you want to lose weight. Moreover, its spongy texture also plays a critical role in the weight loss plan. Besides, it is also in fiber that can reduce your appetite by keeping you full for a longer time.
Promote Eye Health:
Another excellent nutrient in eggplant is lutein. It can help to prevent any age-related macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness and vision impairment. However, the presence of lutein in eggplant can help to prevent or delay macular degeneration. Therefore, it plays a critical role when it comes to eye health and vision.
According to the report published by WHO in the last two decades, there is an unbelievable increase in anemia cases. The primary cause of anemia is iron deficiency, and it shows symptoms like headaches, weakness, and difficulty in concentration. The good thing about eggplant is that it contains iron. Therefore, you can add it to your diet to fulfill iron deficiency. There is almost 0.2 mg of iron in every 100 grams. Besides, it also contains copper about 0.173 mg. Due to these reasons, it is great to combat anemia.
Improve Skin Health:
Many people may not know, but eggplant can also play a great role in improving your skin's overall health. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and anthocyanins. The result of various researches shows that it can improve skin glow and slow down the aging process. However, more research is still needed in this regard.
Recommended Daily Intake
Being a part of the nightshade family, eggplant contains alkaloids, including solanine. Therefore, you must keep your daily intake into consideration. The daily intake of eggplant depends on age and gender.
Best Way to Consume
Eggplant comes with a unique and bitter flavor and a great texture. Therefore, it can be easily used in numerous dishes according to your taste. Some of the best ways to consume eggplant are:
- You can eat oven-baked eggplant fries by cutting it in stripes and coating with breadcrumbs.
- Recently, eggplant pizza crust is popular with tomato sauce, cheese, and other toppings, especially for those who want to lose weight.
- Another great way is to eat eggplant pasta topping.
- Make an eggplant curry for a delicious lunch. Moreover, you can also add eggplant dice to the chicken or fish curry.
- You can also use grilled eggplant as a garnish in the burger.
- One of the easiest ways to consume eggplant is to roast them.
- Stir-fry or sauté eggplants in olive oil and use them as a side dish.
- You can also add them to the vegetable lasagna.
Preparation Tips for Eggplant:
Below are some of the effective tips for preparing eggplants:
- When selecting eggplant, don't but the one that has a withered, bruised, or discolored skin.
- You can store it in the refrigerator for a few days; however, make sure to leave its skin intact.
Before cooking eggplant, wash it and cut both ends. However, it is okay to eat its skin; however, it is too chewy so you can remove it.
- Use stainless steel instead of carbon steel knife to avoid a phytochemical reaction.
- The natural taste of eggplant is a little bitter. Therefore, sprinkle some salt and let it sit for 30 minutes to draw out its bitterness. It can reduce oil absorption during cooking; however, before cooking, rinse off the salt.
- Lastly, cut eggplants when you are ready to cook.
Due to its bitter and spongy texture, eggplant can be a part of various dishes. Some are of the common eggplant recipes are:
- Crispy baked eggplant
- Spiced Shrimp and eggplant stir-fry
- Eggplant stew
- Japanese miso-glazed eggplant burgers
- Eggplant spirals with Greek yogurt, tomatoes, and cucumber
- Roasted eggplant with tahini, pine nuts, and lentils
Eggplants contain few side effects; therefore, you must keep in consideration your intake.
Eggplants contain alkaloids like solanine as it is from the nightshade family. Solanine can be toxic. Solanine basically protects these plants while they are developing. Therefore, if you eat tubers or leaves, symptoms like nausea, vomiting, burning of the throat, and heart arrhythmias. Sometimes it can be fatal.
Nasunin and Iron Absorption:
Eggplants contain nasunin, a phytochemical that can bind iron and remove it from the cell. It is known as iron chelation. Although it can be useful for people with excess iron, it is not good for low iron people. Therefore, if you have iron deficiency, don't consume eggplant.
Although it is very rare, sometimes eggplant can trigger an allergic reaction, and the leading cause for this is the presence of lipid transfer protein in the plant. It can cause symptoms, including hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing. If you experience these symptoms, immediately contact your physician.
Oxalates and Kidney Stones:
Eggplant contains oxalates and, therefore, sometimes contributes to kidney stones, especially in those prone to absorbing oxalates. And in severe cases, it can lead to acute kidney injury or kidney death.
Eggplant is a nutrient-dense food that contains various health benefits. It can promote heart health, reduce the risk of sugar, and help in weight loss. Therefore, it is a great idea to add eggplant to your diet. However, it has few risks associated with it.