What are the health benefits of eggplant

The eggplant, also known as aubergine, is high in fiber and nutrients. The Mediterranean diet includes this low-calorie vegetable.

Many of us are familiar with large, dark purple eggplants, but the shape, size, and color of eggplants can range from small and oblong to long and thin, and from purple to white or green.

The nutritional benefits of traditional purple eggplant will be discussed in this article.

Health benefits

Eggplants
Fiber and antioxidants abound in eggplants.

A serving of eggplant contains at least 5% of a person’s daily fiber, copper, manganese, B-6, and thiamine requirements. Certain vitamins and minerals are also present.

Furthermore, eggplants contain phenolic compounds, which serve as antioxidants.

Antioxidants are molecules that aid in the elimination of free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage cells if they accumulate in large quantities. Antioxidant-rich foods can help to prevent a variety of diseases.

Anthocyanins, such as nasunin, lutein, and zeaxanthin, are antioxidants found in eggplants.

What are some other foods that are high in antioxidants? Find out here.

Heart health

Eggplants contain fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and antioxidants, all of which are beneficial to heart health.

According to a study published in 2019, consuming foods rich in flavonoids, such as anthocyanins, can help lower inflammatory markers that increase the risk of heart disease.

According to a 2013 report, middle-aged women who ate more than three servings of blueberries and strawberries per week — both high in anthocyanins — had a 32 percent lower risk of heart disease than those who ate less of these fruits.

Another study found that women who consumed a high amount of anthocyanins had lower blood pressure and less artery stiffening than those who consumed less of these compounds.

Blood cholesterol

Eggplant is high in fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels. A cup of cooked eggplant cubes with a weight of 96 grams (g) contains around 2.4 grams (g) of fiber.

Chlorogenic acid, a key antioxidant found in eggplants, was found to lower levels of low density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol and minimize the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in rodents in a 2014 report.

Cancer

Polyphenols found in eggplant can help the body fight cancer. Anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid both protect cells from free radical damage. In the long run, this could help to inhibit tumor growth and cancer cell spread.

Anthocyanins can aid in this by preventing the formation of new blood vessels in the tumor, reducing inflammation, and inhibiting the enzymes that aid cancer cell spread.

Cognitive function

According to animal studies, nasunin, an anthocyanin found in eggplant skin, can help protect brain cell membranes from free radical harm. Nasunin also aids in the transport of nutrients into cells and the removal of waste.

Anthocyanins also aid in the prevention of neuroinflammation and the flow of blood to the brain. This could help prevent memory loss and other symptoms of mental deterioration as people get older.

Nasunin has been shown in lab studies to slow the breakdown of fats in the brain, a process that can damage cells.

Weight management

Dietary fiber can aid in weight management. A high-fiber diet can help a person feel fuller for longer, which makes them less likely to overeat.

Eggplants are high in fiber and low in calories, making them a good addition to a low-calorie diet.

However, when frying eggplant, it can consume a lot of oil. Anyone who wants to lose weight should cook it in a different way, such as grilling or air-frying.

Here, find more tips for weight loss.

Eye health

The antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are also found in eggplant.

Lutein tends to play a role in eye health, and it may aid in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration, which may cause vision loss in the elderly.

Nutrition

The nutrients in 1 cup (about 96 g) of cooked eggplant cubes are listed in the table below. It also shows how much of each nutrient a person requires on a daily basis. People’s needs, however, differ depending on their age and gender.

Preparation

Eggplants should be firm and heavy for their size, with smooth, glossy skin and a deep purple hue. Any that are withered, bruised, or discolored should be avoided.

Store them in the refrigerator until they are ready for use. They can stay fresher for longer if the skin is left intact.

To avoid a phytochemical reaction that causes the eggplant to turn black, cut it with a stainless steel knife rather than a carbon steel knife.

Eggplant has a mild bitterness to it. “Sweating” an eggplant with salt will draw out moisture and some compounds that contribute to the bitterness, ultimately making the flesh more tender.

  • cut the eggplant into slices, cubes, strips, or halves and place them on a board
  • sprinkle them with salt
  • After about 30 minutes, rinse off the salt and pat the pieces dry
  • fry, grill, bake, roast, or steam them

Sweating an eggplant will also reduce oil absorption during cooking.

Eggplant is a popular element of the Mediterranean diet. 

Recipes

Try the following recipes:

More ways to eat eggplant

Find some more ideas below.

Eggplant pizza crust: Replace pizza crust with sliced eggplant and add tomato sauce, cheese, and other toppings for a gluten free, low calorie treat.

Eggplant side dish: Saute or stir-fry chunks of eggplant in olive oil and serve it as a side.

Burger garnish: Cut an eggplant lengthwise into thick slices and grill them. Serve them alone or in a burger.

Oven-baked eggplant fries: Slice an eggplant into strips or wedges and bake them.

Eggplant pasta topping: Cut an eggplant into thick slices, then bread and bake them or saute them and add the strips to a pasta dish. Top the slices with Parmesan cheese to make eggplant Parmesan.

Ratatouille: Saute eggplant, onion, garlic, zucchini, peppers, and tomato in a little olive oil to make ratatouille, a stewed vegetable dish.

Vegetable lasagna: Use the ratatouille above to replace the meat layer in lasagna.

Baba ghanoush: This is a popular Middle Eastern dip of grilled eggplant, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and spices. Some people add yogurt.

Maghluba: This is an “upside down” rice dish with chicken and eggplant.

Risks

Some people should limit their eggplant consumption.

Iron absorption and nasunin

Nasunin, an eggplant phytochemical, binds to iron and removes it from cells. For people who have too much iron in their bodies, this process known as iron chelation can be beneficial.

Meanwhile, people with low iron levels should avoid eating a lot of nasunin-containing foods.

Solanine poisoning

Eggplants are part of the nightshade family. Nightshades contain alkaloids, including solanine, which can be toxic. Solanine protects these plants while they are still developing.

Eating the leaves or tubers of these plants can cause throat burning, nausea and vomiting, as well as heart arrhythmias. The reaction has the potential to be fatal.

When people eat potatoes that have turned green, they are at the highest risk of ingesting the most solanine. Solanine is found in small amounts in eggplants, and consuming small amounts is unlikely to have a large impact.

Eggplant allergy

One or more compounds may cause an allergic reaction in rare cases. A lipid transfer protein in the plant tends to be the primary cause.

Hives, swelling, and trouble breathing are all signs of an allergic reaction. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately, as they may be suffering from anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.

To learn more about anaphylaxis, click here.

Oxalates and kidney stones

Eggplants have a lower concentration of oxalates than most fruits and vegetables. In certain people who are more vulnerable to consuming oxalates, oxalates may lead to the development of kidney stones. Kidney stones, if left untreated, may cause acute kidney damage or death.

People who are susceptible to kidney stones should avoid foods containing oxalates, such as eggplant. Foods high in oxalate should be avoided by someone with this disease.

Learn more about kidney stones, their causes, and how to handle them.

Conclusion

Eggplant can be a nutritious addition to a well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Because of its polyphenols, eggplant has a bitter taste that some people dislike. Sweating eggplant, as well as experimenting with different seasonings and cooking methods, can help. Many people enjoy eggplant, and there are few risks associated with eating it.

Sources

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